Nepal on Friday confirmed the first case of deadly coronavirus in the country identifying the infected person as a Nepali student who recently returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan, local media reports said.
The 31-year-old man, who is doing his PhD in Wuhan, had returned from the Chinese city on January 5. He had visited a hospital complaining of respiratory problems and was admitted on January 13, the Kathmandu Post reported.
He was given medication and once his health condition improved, he was discharged five days later from the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, the Himalayan Times reported.
The hospital had taken specimens-throat swabs and blood samples-from the patient and sent it to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
“The throat swab and blood sample of a Nepali suspected of being infected with coronavirus, was tested positive,” the Times reported, citing the Ministry of Health and Population.
This is first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Nepal, bordering India.
“We have received the report and specimens have tested positive,” said Dr Hemanta Chandra Ojha, an official at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.
“We are now in the process of searching for the man and his family in order to test them for further infection,” Ojha was quoted as saying by the Post.
Ojha said that they had no indication as to where the man had gone and his activities over the past five days, ever since he was discharged from the hospital.
The novel coronavirus originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.
The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus that has killed people in China is a novel strain and not seen before.
Common symptoms of the novel coronavirus strain include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to the WHO.
The deadly virus has claimed 26 lives in China with confirmed cases rising sharply to over 880 in the country, prompting Chinese authorities to shut down 13 cities during the Lunar New Year celebrations.
The virus has also spread to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States. Japan on Friday reported a second confirmed case.