Covid-19 Nepal: Labs process 3,000 samples a day as 145,000 people await results

Kathmandu, June 3

As per the latest update of the Ministry of Health and Population, 145,375 people have been quarantined across the country.

Most of them are the people who recently returned home from India. Health officials have already collected their swab samples to test them for coronavirus.

But, all of them will apparently get the test results only after several weeks as the labs across the country are not efficient enough to process them quickly.

Currently, over 20 labs in Nepal are conducting coronavirus tests and they have been able to conclude just 3,000 to 4,000 tests every day. On Tuesday afternoon, the ministry’s spokesperson Bikas Devkota said 3,440 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, of which 288 were positive.

While the thousands of samples are put on hold, the officials have continued collecting over 5,000 swab samples every day even now.

The chief of National Public Health Laboratory, the biggest Covid-19 test lab of the country, Dr Runa Jha, blames haphazard testing by field officials and the tendency of sending all the samples to a single lab for the increasing number of samples on hold. She maintains, however, the ratio between collection ad testing will be balanced soon as the number of labs conducting Covid-19 tests is increasing.

Meanwhile, public health experts have said the government should immediately take initiatives to increase the capacity of labs. Infection disease expert Dr Anup Subedi warns that such a delay in the publication of test reports might result in an uncontrolled spread of the infection.

Published on June 3rd, Wednesday, 2020 10:50 AM

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