The Health Ministry is preparing to test only symptomatic persons for COVID-19 concluding that not testing asymptomatic persons does not make any difference now.
Deputy Spokesperson at the ministry Dr Samir Adhikari confirmed with Setopati that the ministry has discussed along the line but expressed ignorance about whether the proposal has been sent to the Cabinet. "The ministry believes that only symptomatic persons should be tested and not testing asymptomatic ones does not make difference, but people should remain n quarantine."
The decision, if taken, risks increasing the spread of already surging infection as the disease can be spread even if the infected persons are asymptomatic. The government aims to tackle that by increasing quarantine of persons suspected of being infected. But it will be very difficult to check spread that way as many who needs to be quarantined after exposure to asymptomatic patients will not know they have been exposed to infected persons in lack of testing of asymptomatic persons.
Dr Adhikari added that the ministry will now stress on quarantine and isolation instead of just increasing testing through contact tracing. "We should now quarantine people going to a district form another for 14 days," he stated.
Nepal is currently doing around 10,000 PCR tests a day and over 850,000 PCR tests have been done across the country until now.
The government recently has halved the fee for PCR test to Rs 2,000 from Rs 4,400.
The ministry is also discussing about providing free treatment only to the impoverished people and asking others to get treated on their own expenses. "We have just initiated discussion along that line. It is up to the government to take the decision," Dr Adhikari said.
Published Date: Tuesday, Bhadra 30, 2077, 11:15:00