Coronavirus crisis impending as the health ministry reduces sample collection and test range Health experts warn the government is making a serious mistake by lowering the test numbers.

11th July 2020, Kathmandu Health experts have said that the country is moving towards a major Coronavirus crisis, as the government has reduced sample collection and daily testing, and has identified declining cases of infection as a success.

The daily infection rates of the last few days suggest that Coronavirus dissipates, and the Ministry of Health and Population has claimed that the cases are declining day by day. On Thursday, 108 people tested positive for Coronavirus infection caused by Covid-19.

It was 255 on Wednesday, 204 on Tuesday and 180 on Monday, The Kathmandu post reported. However, the reduction in the number of infections does not support the government’s claim, as the Health Ministry has reduced the number of daily tests in recent days.

Only 4,588 samples were tested on Thursday. Earlier, over 7,000 samples used to be tested daily, hence the high number of infection cases.

“No case will be detected if you stopped the tests,” Dr Mingmar Gyelgen Sherpa, former director general at the Department of Health Services, told the Post. “If the government is in a hurry to declare the country free of Coronavirus, it could stop the tests, but that doesn’t mean this will address the risk.

” The Health Ministry had vowed to perform 10,000 daily tests from June 29, a decision that was prompted following the youth-led protests against the government’s poor handling of the Covid- 19 pandemic.

But instead of increasing the tests, the ministry has revised its guidelines, effectively narrowing the range of sample collection for the Coronavirus tests.

The Ministry has also issued a strict direction to health workers to follow the revised guidelines in the book while collecting swab samples from suspected Coronavirus infected individuals, or else the health facilities concerned will have to bear the costs of the tests.

The Ministry’s edict has led to a serious decline in the number of samples collected daily. Earlier, thousands of samples used to be in the test queue. There were no samples in the queue on Thursday.

“We are making a serious mistake by reducing our sample collection range. Obviously, decline in the test numbers will give you fewer positive cases, but that doesn’t mean there is no risk, “Dr Bhagwan Koirala, chairman of Nepal Medical Council, said. “We must expand the testing criteria as suggested by the global scientific community.”

Coronavirus infections are reported among people who have not come into contact with the infected persons and who have not been to the infected regions. Infections among patients and health workers in non-Covid hospitals have also been reported.

The number of such infections are in hundreds, and yet the government has been maintaining that the Coronavirus infection has not reached the community transmission stage.

Health experts say the government’s decision to reduce the test numbers at this time could be deleterious. Dr Koirala said the government is making a fool of itself by claiming that there are no cases of community transmission as the public at large and medical professionals do not believe this claim “It will be very difficult to control the situation if the virus were to spread in wider communities. Fewer tests at this time means jeopardizing the public health,” he said.

“We have to increase our test range, focus on contact tracing and isolate the infected people. That’s our best bet.” Health experts have urged the government to immediately revise its testing guidelines to increase the sample collection range before there are multiple community infection out

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