Kathmandu: Although official figures show Covid-19 cases decreasing for the past few days, experts have warned the noticeable drop in the cases is due to fewer tests and it is too early to take it as a sign of flattening of the deadly second wave curve
In the last few days, the number of Covid-19 cases has drastically decreased with daily cases recorded below 5,000 on an average, the data of the Ministry of Health and Population show. The drop in cases comes at a time when the government is mulling to ease prohibitory order and allow some activities to keep the economy moving.
The government data shows that cases have declined. However, the Covid-19 positivity rate is still above 30 percent. The daily cases are in a declining trend with fewer tests. The data of the last five days shows that the Covid-19 positivity rate stands at 31.70 percent.
Until a week ago, at least 20,000 tests were being performed every day on an average, and around 8,000 samples were reported positive. Intraday cases have decreased for the last few days with a sharp decline in total tests.
On Tuesday, 6,085 samples tested positive with 17,147 PCR tests and 3,018 antigen tests performed. The positivity rate stood at 30.17 percent.
A total of 20,414 PCR tests were conducted on May 27. Total tests have gone down since then. On May 28, 19,313 tests were conducted, 14,006 on May 29, 10,986 on May 30 and 15,055 on May 31.
Nepal has received almost two million antigen test kits. The kits have already been supplied to remote villages across the country, but they are still unused.
On Tuesday, the number of tests went up, so did the number of daily cases. This also proves that Nepal is testing fewer people.
Former director at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division Dr Baburam Marasini said that fewer cases have been reported as the scope of tests has not been widened. “Yes, the number of cases has decreased, but only in city areas. The government has failed to increase tests in rural areas where the virus is spreading fast,” said Marasini.
“The number of Covid-19 patients has decreased in major cities like Kathmandu, Nepalgunj, Butwal, among others which is a positive sign. However, the government is not focusing on controlling the spread of the virus in rural villages,” he said, adding that the situation will not be normal if tastings are not increased in remote places.
The government has aimed to perform over 20,000 antigen tests daily in rural parts of the country, however, only over 1,500 tests have been performed on an average.
On Tuesday, only 3,018 antigen tests were conducted throughout the country, of which 800 samples were tested positive.
“The government has even failed to conduct tests through antigen testing in remote villages,” he added.
After the deadly second wave of the pandemic hit the country, Nepal has received almost two million antigen test kits. The kits have already been supplied to remote villages across the country, but they are still unused.
According to virologist Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, the number of cases is certainly decreasing. “But it is too early to say the curve is flattening,” said Pun, agreeing with Dr Marasini.
“The cases are decreasing in major cities. People have stopped going for testing, as a result, the number of testing has decreased. But in remote villages, the scenario is different. Cases are increasing, but no tests are performed,” he added.