Three Indians test positive for COVID-19

Kathmandu, April 12

Three Indian nationals, who were evicted from a mosque in Birgunj recently, tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease today, taking the total cases of COVID-19 infection in Nepal to 12.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, all three are men, aged 37, 44 and 55 years.

They have been admitted to the isolation ward of  Narayani Sub-Regional Hospital in Birgunj and their health condition is normal. These people were living in a mosque in Chhapkaiya of Birgunj Metropolitan City.

“All three are Muslim preachers who had come to Nepal from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh,” said Basudev Pandey, director, Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, under the Department of Health Services.

“Of the three, two are asymptomatic, while one has mild cough,” said Madan Kumar Upadhyaya, medical superintendent at Narayani Hospital. According to Upadhyaya, laboratory samples were collected from 24 Muslims who had come to the hospital for screening on Thursday. Their throat swabs were sent to Vector-Borne Disease  Research and Training Centre, Hetauda, for testing. Since three samples tested positive at the Hetauda-based lab, they were sent to National Public Health Laboratory for retesting. The results of tests done at NPHL yesterday showed that they were positive.

The 21 people who tested negative for the disease have been put under quarantine.

After the three COVID-positive cases were admitted to Narayani Sub-regional Hospital, the hospital halted all its out-patient department services. But the hospital continues to run other services, such as emergency, gynaecology and neuro.

Doctors in the hospital have demanded that a separate COVID-19 hospital be set up in the area.

Niraj Singh, one of the doctors working in the hospital, wrote on social media: “The government should clarify if Narayani Hospital is a COVID-19 centre. If yes, other patients should be transferred to some other hospitals. If not, these three coronavirus patients should be transferred to a COVID-19 hospital.”

Nepal reported its first COVID-19 case on January 23 after a 32-year-old man, who had returned from Wuhan, China, tested positive. He has since recovered, while eight other positive cases are undergoing treatment in three hospitals across Nepal.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 13, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.