Nepal has recorded the biggest single-day increase in those testing positive for the coronavirus, with 57 new cases bringing the total to 191.
The new cases were asymptomatic and were carried out through contact tracing of people who had previously tested positive after coming back from India or were in close proximity of a cluster detected among a Muslim sect.
Officials privy to the data said that most of those who tested positive were young Nepalis who had recently returned from India, or those who had come in contact with them.
All 57 were young men, with the highest number was in Parsa district with 39 new cases in and around the border city of Birganj. Kapilvastu district had 8, Rupendehi 9 and Bara 1. All the districts where the new cases were found border India.
Nepal’s public health officials have been tracking down those who have returned from India, their families and those they have been in contact with and have been collecting hundreds of nasal and throat swabs. The new cases were detected after samples taken in the past week were tested.
“It would not be surprising that the number of positive cases increased, as more test results come in,” says Sameer Mani Dixit, a researcher at the Centre for Molecular Dynamics in Kathmandu. “All the new cases are from the same cluster, except the ones in Kapilvastu.”
Kapilvastu saw two new cases over the weekend, and both were young men had slipped in through the border after travelling from Mumbai where they worked. Nepal has sealed its border with India, but some returnees are coming across the porous border at night or along unguarded points.
Of the 191 tested so far, most have no symptoms and do not need hospitalisation, officials said, and they would be monitored and placed in isolation. Of those with symptoms, 33 patients have recovered and have gone home.