Bahradashi in Jhapa discontinues rapid diagnostic tests questioning its reliabilityThe local unit has decided to contact trace and expedite coronavirus testing among the local population through the Polymerase Chain Reaction method.
A local unit in Jhapa has decided to discontinue the use of rapid diagnostic test kits, citing unreliability in their results.
Bahradashi Rural Municipality took the decision after the coronavirus test of a 50-year-old man from Ward No. 4 done through the Polymerase Chain Reaction method came positive, contradicting two rapid diagnostic tests done earlier. The Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed the positive case of Covid-19 in the man.
“An all party meeting held on Monday has decided to conduct coronavirus tests through the Polymerase Chain Reaction method only” said Khadga Prasad Rajbanshi, the chairman of the local body.
The local unit has also decided to contact trace and expedite testing among the local population following reports of the positive case in the rural municipality. A joint health team from the District Health Office and the local body on Tuesday collected swabs of 62 people who reportedly came in contact with the Covid-19 infected man.
According to Samim Miya, chairman of Ward No. 4, health personnel collected the throat swabs of the man’s family members, neighbours, relatives and others who came in contact with him for laboratory tests.
“The swabs were collected for PCR tests. We will not be conducting rapid diagnostic tests now onwards,” he added.
Similarly, Damak Municipality has also prioritised testing through the Polymerase Chain Reaction method and has expedited contact tracing. The municipality intensified testing after the Health Ministry on Friday confirmed Covid-19 in a 62-year-old man from Damak Ward No. 3. The ward has been under lockdown since.
According to Jiban Chaulagain, the focal person at the District Health Office in Jhapa, as of Monday, the district has collected the swabs of 163 people from all 15 local bodies to be tested through the Polymerase Chain Reaction method.
Of the total swab samples, two came positive, 106 came negative while the results for 55 are awaited, according to Chaulagain.
According to him, 848 people have undergone rapid diagnostic tests in the district so far.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.