Of the total 5,000 entering Jumla in a month, the number of people tested for Covid-19 is in the hundredsThe local administration admitted that most of the people sent home from quarantine were not tested for Covid-19.
Data with the Karnali provincial government shows around 5,000 people entered Jumla from several Covid-19 affected countries including India and elsewhere in Nepal in the past one month. Among them, the number of people tested for the novel coronavirus so far is only in the hundreds.
Throat and nasal swabs of only 330 suspects of coronavirus were collected for Polymerase Chain Reaction test and rapid tests were conducted for 149 other people through Rapid Diagnostic Test kits in the province so far, according to the Jumla District Public Health Office.
“Laboratory tests numbering 4,000 to 6,000 should be conducted given the number of people who entered the district in the last one month. But we haven’t been able to do so because we do not have a PCR machine despite having other resources,” said Mangal Rawal, director at the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences. The academy plans to install a PCR machine within a week and start tests for the disease, said Rawal.
The provincial government provided some RDT kits to Jumla to conduct rapid tests on returnees from India and other countries. However, the district has run out of the test kits already.
“We have stopped conducting rapid tests because of a shortage of kits. We will resume testing once the provincial government provides us with additional kits,” said Krishna Sapkota, chief at the district health office.
Quarantines with a combined capacity of 242 beds have been set up in various local federal units in the district. According to the district administration office, only five people have been staying in these quarantine facilities while 71 others have already returned home. The local administration admitted that most of the people sent home were not tested for Covid-19.
Rapid testing for Covid-19 has been halted in several districts of Karnali province due to a shortage of RDT kits. The health directorate had distributed around 5,000 RDT kits among the 10 districts of Karnali Province to test suspected cases of Covid-19.