The Nepali Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has claimed that the novel coronavirus cannot spread through wastewater. The Ministry dismissed the recent research reports by the ‘Environmental Surveillance of COVID-19’, Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal.
Dr. Jageshwor Gautam, Spokesperson at the MoHP, said that the risk of coronavirus transmission from the sewage to the community is low.
Earlier, Environmental Surveillance has revealed that coronavirus has been detected in drainage water in two places of Kathmandu Valley.
In samples collected from four sewage outlets in the Valley, samples from two places came out positive for coronavirus.
“The samples were collected from four places inside the Valley. This shows that there has been a community transmission in the Valley,” said Dibesh Karmacharya, Executive Director of Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal.
“The research will help us trace the number of cases in a particular area and help in testing, tracing and treating the people,” he added.
However, the Health Ministry maintained that the risk of this mode of transmission is low.
“The studies carried in across the world have concluded that COVID-19 pathogen could still be found in the victims even some more time after recovery. Such RNA fragments generally are not in the position of transmitting the pandemic,” said Dr. Gautam.
“The sewage from the contaminated community and hospital wastage can still contain coronavirus, and it can survive for two days in such contents. But no studies to date have verified the possibilities of transmission,” he added.
However, the Ministry advised the sewage and sanitation workers to use safety materials such as long gowns, thick gloves, boots, masks, and goggles during the work.
Meanwhile, he ensured that the Nepal Health Research Council would monitor and supervise the two concerned localities and requested all not to panic just because few pathogens were noticed in the sewage water.
So far, Nepal has reported 15,784 COVID-19 positive cases and 34 death cases. Currently, there are 9,203 active cases and 6,547 recovery cases.