The government has decided to allow private laboratories to test for COVID-19 with public laboratories struggling to conduct tests on a necessary scale.
The National Public Health Laboratory has invited the private labs to submit their details including testing capacity. "We have asked the private labs to submit their details including testing capacity, human resources and rate. We will then formulate a standard and give permission," Director at the laboratory Dr Runa Jha told Setopati.
The 20 public labs across the countries have piles of samples remaining to be tested. Dr Jha said the National Public Health Laboratory in Teku alone receives around 3,000 samples a day though its daily capacity is only 1,000.
The pressure can be relieved a bit after coordination with the six private labs that can do PCR tests. They all are Grade A labs as required by the Health Laboratories Establishment and Action Guidelines for PCR tests.
The private labs can conduct up to 1,500 PCR tests a day if given permission which is 50 percent of the daily tests being conducted by public labs now.
The pressure on labs has increased significantly with return of Nepalis from India on a massive scale in recent times. Those returning to Karnali and Far West provinces are subject to rapid diagnostic tests. The pressure would increase further if they all were to undergo PCR tests.
The National Public Health Laboratory has decided to request the government to procure machines with larger capacity to bear the pressure. But when those machines will arrive is yet to be known. The pressure is set to increase further when the government starts to repatriate Nepalis from countries other than India.
Published Date: Friday, Jestha 23, 2077, 11:08:00