Nepal records no Covid-19 cases for the first time in 31 monthsNo cases doesn’t mean there’s no risk of a new surge in Covid-19 cases in the corning days.
No one tested positive for the coronavirus in Nepal on Friday, marking the first Covid-free day in the past 31 months.
According to data provided by the Ministry of Health and Population, 159 polymerase chain reaction tests and 687 antigen tests were carried out throughout the country on the swab samples of suspected infected persons on Friday, but reports of all the samples came negative.
It is the first time that zero cases of Covid-19 were reported in more than 950 days. The last time zero cases of infection were recorded was on May 4 2020. Likewise, no one has died from the infection of Covid-19 in the past seven weeks. One death was recorded on October 24 from the coronavirus infection.
“The rate of infection has declined drastically in our country,” said Dr Roshan Pokhrel, secretary for the Health Ministry. “It is good news for us, but that time has not yet come when we lift our guard against the virus.”
Several countries, including South Korea and Japan, where Nepal has a high mobility rate, have been witnessing a massive spike in Covid-19 infections. South Korea on Saturday recorded 66,752 new Covid-19 cases. Japan recorded 158,383 Covid-19 cases on the same day.
“Migrant workers, students from Nepal and tourists from these countries keep travelling to and from these countries, which means that the risk of a new surge cannot be ruled out as yet,” said Pokhrel.
China reported 2,286 Covid-19 cases on Saturday.
Experts in Nepal said that even if Nepal recorded no cases for the first time since the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic hit the country in May 2020, the infection might have been spreading in communities.
Case detection has declined to zero, as only the healthy people seeking to go abroad or returning from abroad are undergoing coronavirus testing, said the experts.
“Authorities have stopped tracking active cases of Covid-19 months ago. We do not know the actual infection rate without active case finding or stepping up of the surveillance measures,” said Dr Prabhat Adhikari, an infectious disease expert. “And what we should not forget is that the coronavirus is continuously mutating and some countries have been witnessing massive spikes in new cases and deaths too.”
Nepal on Saturday recorded one positive case. The Health Ministry said that as of now there are only 14 active cases across the country, the lowest since April 13, 2020. The country recorded 117,261 active cases on May 25, 2021, the highest number ever recorded in Nepal.
Nepal reported its first Covid-19 case on January 23,2020. The first Covid-19-related death was recorded on May 16 the same year. So far, 12,019 Nepalis have lost their lives due to Covid-19 infection.
“Chances of new variants entering the country exist due to various reasons, including global mobility,” said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, chief of Clinical Research unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital. “Even if a massive surge is unlikely immediately, the virus could exist in communities for a long time.”
So far, 22,324,933 people, or 76.5 percent of the total population above five years, have been fully vaccinated in Nepal.
According to the Health Ministry, only 7,972,791 people, or around 27.3 percent of the total population, have been administered booster shots so far. The Health Ministry has not updated the vaccination status in its daily reports since September 13, meaning that there have been no fresh vaccinations lately.