The government has agreed to stop doing rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for COVID-19.
The 12-point agreement the Health Ministry signed with the 'Enough is enough' campaigners on Tuesday before Ishan Adhikari and Pukar Bam ended their hunger strike mentions a point about stopping the controversial and unreliable tests.
The government will now do only PCR tests.
The use of RDT was controversial right from the beginning with experts pointing that the World Health Organization (WHO) has also not recommended RDT. But the ministry had continued with RDT stating that other countries are also doing RDT.
The Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) after studying the quality of RDT had recommended the ministry to not use it to identify infection. The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) had also demanded RDT be stopped citing its unreliability. But the government did not heed and expanded the scope of RDT instead.
The government has done 312,000 RDT and 255,00 PCR by Monday.
The government now has agreed to stop RDT. The 12-point agreement signed with the 'Enough is enough' campaigners also mentions that everyone in quarantine facilities will undergo PCR test and be sent home only after testing negative.
The COVID-19 guidelines issued by the ministry earlier stated that those in quarantine will get PCR test only after showing symptoms despite long incubation period of COVID-19 and scientific evidence showing asymptomatic transmission.
"The current guidelines will be amended within this week to ensure test of those under risk (both symptomatic and asymptomatic) as per the state's policy," a point in the agreement reads.
Those returning from foreign countries, who have come in contact with infected persons, health personnel, essential service-providers, those with respiratory problems, febrile persons and those with compromised sense of smell and taste are considered to be under risks.
Published Date: Tuesday, Ashar 23, 2077, 12:25:00