COVID-19 test to begin in Koshi Zonal Hospital

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Kathmandu - The Koshi Zonal Hospital of Biratnagar is scheduled to test COVID-19 in its own laboratory. According to Minister of Social Development of State -1 Jiwan Ghimire, the state government has completed all necessary technical and managerial requirements essential for the testing of the global pandemic. ''We have airlifted all necessary things from federal capital Kathmandu today'', said minister Ghimire, adding, ''Probably the testing begins from tomorrow or the day after.''

Minister Ghimire said Koshi Zonal Hospital would be equipped to test around 90 throat swabs in a day. Dr. Shangita Mishra, the acting medical superintendent of the hospital, said the RT-PCR machine of the laboratory was being readied for COVID-19 test. She added, ''we have been working hard to prepare our laboratory for the COVID-19 test. I can't fix the date. However, COVID-19 will be tested in this hospital laboratory within few days.'' Besides preparations for COVID-19 test, Koshi Zonal Hospital has allocated 10 isolated beds for potential COVID-19 patients.

Likewise, with the technical assistance from state-1 government, Koshi Zonal Hospital has set up another 50-bed COVID-19 hospital in the premises of National Trading located at Biratnagar Metropolitan City Ward Number 10. However, no patients are admitted so far in this newly constructed emergency hospital to deal with the potential outbreak of this global pandemic in state one. The 350-bed government-owned hospital, located at Biratnagar-13, will be second medical facility to test COVID-19 in the state one.

On March 29, the first ever test of this global pandemic was formally inaugurated by Chief Minister of State 1 Sherdhan Rai at B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) of Dharan. COVID-19 test is tested based on World Health Organization (WHO)- approved Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)- kit, shared Narayan Bhattarai, Associate Professor of Microbiology of BPKIHS. According to Dr. Ashok Air, the deputy spokesperson of BPKIHS, around 24 throat swabs can be tested in the microbiology laboratory of BPKIHS. ''We can test around 90 throat swabs processed in other laboratory'', said Dr. Air. Having bordered India in its South and eastern parts and China in northern side, State-1, so far, has not had any COVID-19 positive case.

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National News Agency, Nepal

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