A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Population said Nepal was monitoring the situation and would take further action after a new strain of coronavirus was confirmed in India.
India’s health ministry said on Tuesday that a new “double mutant” coronavirus had been found in 18 states.
A public health expert stressed that the government should not work in a weedy manner and should learn from the past to ensure that more PCR tests and public health standards are followed.
According to the Indian government, statistics have not confirmed any link between the rising rate of infection at the local level and the new type of virus.
Covid has recently been confirmed in India at a daily high of more than 47,000 since November.
What do Nepali officials say?
With the rising infection rate in India, Nepal’s Ministry of Health this week instructed its subordinates to meet quarantine and other public health standards, including Covid-19 testing at checkpoints.
A spokesman for the health ministry, Jageshwar Gautam, told the BBC: “We have already predicted that this could happen. That is why we are preparing.”
“There are health desks at the border now. We have arranged for antigen testing in many places. Coronavirus infections have been isolated.”
He added, “There are now 16 checkpoints, we are constantly monitoring them. If anything else needs to be done, we will do it.”
It is said that there are no laboratories and equipment in Nepal that have the capacity to test new types of coronavirus and are recognized by the World Health Organization.
But Rajesh Kumar Gupta, a spokesman for the National Public Health Laboratory, said equipment to detect new types of coronavirus was in the final stages.
“All the training has been done. Now we can check the equipment and chemicals as soon as they arrive. It can come within a week,” he said.
Earlier, coronaviruses were reported to have spread to more than 100 countries after appearing in the UK in the country’s capital and Gandaki province.
The Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control under the Ministry of Health, Dr. Krishna Prasad Poudel informed that the government has formed a group to take action if any new type of coronavirus is suspected.
“We have the technology. If any other sequences are found, we can enlist the help of other experts. Verification can also be done by sending them to a laboratory accredited by the World Health Organization. A consortium has been formed for that,” he said.
What do experts say about the government’s preparations?
But with the rapid spread of the infection in neighboring countries with open borders, the government’s precautionary measures so far have not been adequate, said infectious disease expert Dr. Anoop Subedi explains.
He said, “It is possible to quarantine all those coming from India from now on. It cannot be done if 10,000 people start coming at once.”
He added, “PCR testing should be done as much as possible, not just relying on antigens. We’ve reached the point where we can do up to 20,000 a day. The equipment is still there, the reagents are still cheaper. Many people have technical training.”
Dr. Subedi says the government should also consider the management of the people who come to the village.
“But it doesn’t look like the government has done it all yet.”
So far, more than 1.5 million people in Nepal have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
It is said that the second dose will be given to the person who has taken the first dose from April 22 using the remaining amount of the 2.5 million covid vaccines received by Nepal.
But like many countries in the world, Nepal is struggling to get more vaccines. India, meanwhile, has temporarily banned the export of Covshield vaccine, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.