Nepal | July 13, 2020

Swab collection halted for five days in Sudurpaschim

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Sudurpaschim Province has halted collection of throat swab samples for five days.

Province Health Directorate Office Dhangadi said it had stopped collecting swab samples as more than 1,000 swabs were on hold and left to be tested.

“We have more than 1,000 swab samples yet to be tested and there is lack of space to keep them as well. It will take five more days to finish testing the existing stock of collected swabs.

Thus, we have halted further swabs collection,” said Directorate Chief Dr Gunaraj Awasthi.

There is just one laboratory in Livestock Centre, Dhangadi. The lab has capacity to test 250 samples in a day. The lab has a backlog of 1,080 swabs for testing.

With the influx of a large number of people from India to Sudurpaschim Province, pressure for PCR test for COVID-19 has increased. More than 50,000 people have come to the province from India in the last month alone. Of them, only 5,000 have undergone PCR tests for COV- ID-19 while others staying in quarantine facilities have yet to undergo the test.

In the wake of lab running out of its capacity to test swab samples, the government has issued a new directive for COVID-19 test. The new policy states that not everyone staying at quarantine facility has to undergo test for COVID-19.

As per the new policy, PCR test will be conducted on people staying in isolation, frontline health workers and people from infection-hit areas, among others, on the basis of importance and need.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 6, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.


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