The collection of swab sample has slowed down in Sudurpaschim Province despite widespread calls for increasing Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Swab samples are being collected only from suspected carriers of the virus, those who tested positive in Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT), and/or have come in contact with infected persons.

According to Narendra Singh Karki, chief of the Health Division under the Ministry of Social Development, following the procedure to collect samples only from the set criteria of people had caused delay in sample collection.

Only 601 swab samples were collected in the past two weeks while 500 to 600 samples were collected on a daily basis two weeks ago in Sudurpaschim Province, as per the data from the Ministry.

As of July 11, 911 collected samples have yet to be tested, said the ministry.

Meanwhile, sluggish sample collection and testing has resulted in a decreased number of new Covid-19 infections.

Yesterday, only three new cases were detected in Kanchanpur, taking the provincial tally to 3,758.

Kailali has the highest number of virus infected people in Sudurpaschim Province till date. Total tally in the district has reached 994 followed by 592 in Achham, 535 in Doti, 446 each in Bajura and Kanchanpur, 298 in Baitadi, 269 in Darchula, 159 in Bajura and 19 in Doti.

According to Regional Health Director, Dr Gunaraj Awasthi, decline in the number of people arriving from India and people staying in quarantine might have contributed to decreasing cases of the virus.

“Swab collection rate has also gone down these days as we have not been updated with people’s entry into the country from various border points. We are preparing to take swab samples of people kept in quarantine facilities in the province within the next four or five days,” he said.

Local health workers said that there was a risk of community spread of the virus due to lack of proper management of people entering into the country from various border points.

The death toll in the province currently stands at eight.