New variant of COVID-19 reported in Nepal

KATHMANDU: As many new cases of Covid-19 are being reported in the country lately, the detection of new variant of the infection has caused a concern among the experts since the new variant seems to be more contagious.

Dr Sagarraj Bhandari, director at the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital at Teku, urged one and all to adopt health precautions to prevent the virus. “The new variant is of the earlier virus which is very infectious,” informed Dr Bhandari, pressing for the need to adhere to the health protocols to prevent the deadly infection.

The country witnessed a total of 496 new cases of coronavirus infection in the past 24 hours taking the total caseload in the country to 280,524 till date. The number of reported active cases in the country is 3,306 while recovery rate is over 97 per cent. All the 3,306 infected ones are in isolation in various parts of the country, according to the Ministry of Health and Population. Likewise, altogether 3,053 people have succumbed to Covid-19 till date in the country, according to the Ministry.

Spokesperson at the Hospital Dr Anup Bastola opined that the new variant of Coronavirus was detected since there was not strict adherence to the health protocol. He further shared that coronavirus spread rapidly through school, crowded places/spaces such as public transport and party palaces among others. The new variant of virus has been reported in children, youth and people below 50 years. More and more new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the country lately due to the new variant of coronavirus, according to Dr Bastola.

The country witnessed a total of 496 new cases of the infection in the past 24 hours against 303 on Sunday. At present, four infected are on a ventilator support at Shukraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, one at Teaching Hospital, five at Patan Hospital and one at HAMS Hospital. This type of virus has shot up at community level, said Dr Bastola. “Symptoms of the virus last long and it is difficult to identify it,” he said.

The infected contracting this virus has much possibility to contract pneumonia and the death rate from it is 1.6 percent higher than the virus surfaced previously. According to him, at present, 15 to 20 percent of children have been infected with the virus as compared to five percent last year. Infected children have shown fever, diarrhea and common cold.

Director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, Dr Krishna Poudel has said new variant of the infection has increased. Sample tests confirmed that more than 200 people have been infected with this type of virus. “New variant of the virus has been detected in sample tests. This new type of virus has been proved by detecting S gene during sample tests,” informed Dr Poudel.

‘Gene sequencing’ determines a new type of virus. However, he lamented, Nepal lacks workforce well-versed in this technique. Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University and the National Public Health Laboratory are coordinating efforts to manage ‘gene sequencing’ of the virus.

According to the information officer at the Laboratory, Rajesh Gupta, ‘gene sequencing’ would take place in the country within a week of the import of equipment for the technique which is in progress. Currently, Nepal has been sending samples for ‘gene sequencing’ to Hong Kong in coordination with the World Health Organization.

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