Due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Nepal, the country has planned to increase testing for the virus substantially to identify the infection early, Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said.
In an televised address to the nation on Monday evening, Oli said that the government planned to conduct a test among 2 per cent of the country's total population, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the estimated population of Nepal as of Monday stands at 29.96 million.
Based on this population figure, Nepal plans to conduct a test on nearly 600,000 people, which is equivalent to 2 per cent of the population.
As of Monday, Nepal has conducted tests on 51,642 people with Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology, while 95,192 people have been tested with rapid test kits, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.
The Nepali government confirmed on Monday that as many as 682 people had so far been tested positive for the COVID-19 while four persons died of the virus.
During the address, Oli said that the rising number of cases was due to the failure to conduct required tests among the migrant Nepali workers who returned home particularly from neighbouring India.
"For the failure to conduct testing, the virus transmitted in communities rapidly."
Prime Minister Oli, however, defended the government's effort to control the COVID-19, saying that until April 11, Nepal had only less than 10 cases.
"The timely taken measures such as the lockdown, closure of international borders for human movement and flight suspensions have helped to keep the COVID-19 cases relatively low."
Nepal has been under the lockdown since March 24 which will last till June 2.
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