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Intensify PCR testing to map out actual COVID-19 scenario of country: Health Experts



intensify-pcr-testing-to-map-out-actual-covid-19-scenario-of-country-health-experts
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By Mahima Devkota, Kathmandu, May. 18: The tests for the novel coronavirus infection must be equally distributed for the proper analysis of the COVID-19 situation in the country. However, this has not happened in Nepal as the number of testing has been up and down each day in the past few weeks. As a result, it has made it difficult for the actual mapping of the COVID-19 scenario in country.

The PCR test is the only way to analyse the COVID-19 situation, however, PCR testing in the whole of the country is yet to be intensified. This tells a tale that Nepal has yet a long way to go to determine the actual COVID-19 situation of the country.

While looking at the data published by the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), the percent of people testing positive for COVID-19 as per the testing is almost similar. 42.47 percent tested positive for the virus on May 17, 37 percent on May 16, 44 percent on May 15, 40 percent on May 14, 45 percent on both May 13 and 12.

According to Dr. Samir Mani Dixit, a health expert, the upcoming weeks would be a hard time for the country as the country is about to reach the peak of the second wave.

Dr. Dixit said, “Nepal will witness the relaxation from the deadly SARS-CoV-2 after the peak of the second wave. However, currently, there is no such situation as the decrease in COVID-19 cases.”

He further added that the increase and decrease of COVID-19 cases heavily rely on the rate of PCR testing.

Pointing that the COVID-19 situation in Nepal is still grim, Dr. Dixit urged the denizens to follow the health safety protocols.

Nepal’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is more than double that in India. Nepal has a test positivity rate of 46.7 percent whereas India is 20.2 percent.

Similarly, Dr. Richa Nepal, Consultant Physician at the Department of Internal Medicine of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, said, “COVID-19 cases are not decreasing but the curve is flattening. However, it is too early to say that the COVID-19 infection is slowing down in the country.”

Dr. Nepal added that Nepal had witnessed a 200-300 percent rise in COVID-19 cases compared to the number of cases before the prohibitory orders were imposed in different parts of the country. Lockdown minimizes the chance of spread of the virus. Because of this, the number of cases have been sliding down as of now.

Currently, there is a 20- 30 percent rise in COVID-19 cases daily, but the PCR testing in the country is minimal. Because of which, it is difficult to say the actual ratio of COVID-19 infection in Nepal. Mainly, rural parts of the countries are seen with less testing so there should be massive testing before the SARS-CoV-2 spreads in the villages.

Vaccination, expansive testing as well as adherence to the health safety standards will help control the surging cases, suggested Dr. Nepal.