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Nepal sees sharp rise in Covid cases, including Omicron

 
Kathmandu, Jan 7 (IANS) Nepal is witnessing a sharp spike in Covid cases since the past one week, sending a red alarm to the countrys fragile health sector.

On Friday alone, Nepal logged 968 new cases with 262 recoveries and zero deaths, according to the latest information provided by the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP). As many as 27 Omicron cases have been detected across the country as on Friday.

"S-gene target dropout was found in 250 samples among the 1,146 random positive samples collected in last one month," the MoHP said in a statement on Friday.

The genome-sequencing tests performed on 24 samples with S-gene dropout showed Omicorn infection in all of them. The World Health Organization says S-gene is not present in Omicron due to multiple mutations the variant has undergone and is considered a marker to identify the latest iteration of Coronavirus.

On Friday, as many as 14,971 swab samples were tested for Covid-19. Of them, 572 PCR and 396 Antigen tests turned out to be positive for the deadly virus.

There are currently 5,837 active cases across the country. Among them, 5,286 are in home isolation, 455 in institutional isolation, 81 in ICUs, and 15 on ventilator support. Similarly, 113 people are currently in quarantine facilities.

So far, 11,602 people have died of the viral infection across the country.

Concerns over a spike in Omicron cases have grown in Nepal, which was battered by the Delta variant last April, as test positively rate on people returning from India has gone up significantly of late.

After the surge in Covid cases, the MoHP has urged all hospital staff and health workers to make necessary preparations to tackle the fresh wave of Covid-19. The ministry has also urged all people to follow the safety protocols to help contain the fresh wave.

As of Friday, 37 per cent of Nepal's eligible population has been vaccinated with double jabs, while 49 per cent has been is partially vaccinated. The Nepal government is also planning to vaccinate teenagers between 12-18 years very soon.

Nepal on Thursday reported 478 new cases. On Wednesday, the number was 370. The previous day, the number stood at 291. The daily test positivity rate of the PCR test for the last three days is 4.4 per cent, 5.4 per cent, and 6.6 per cent, respectively.

With the sharp rise in Covid cases in the country, the government has asked people to rigorously adhere to the health recommendations in order to prevent the spread of Omicron in the country.

--IANS
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