KATHMANDU, March 28 (Xinhua) -- An plane from Nepal Airlines departed on Saturday for Guangzhou, China, to take delivery of personal protective equipment and test kits to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Nepal, facing the shortage of test kits and personal protective equipment for health workers, has recorded five confirmed cases of the COVID-19 so far. But there is a growing concern over possible spike in the cases due to relatively low number of tests.
"An aircraft of Nepal Airlines, RA 4171, departed for Guangzhou at 12:31 p.m. (local time) in order to take delivery of goods as ordered by the Health Ministry," Yogesh Bhattarai, Nepali minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation wrote on twitter. "The plane will arrive back in Nepal at one a.m. tomorrow."
Nepal Airlines' Acting Managing Director Ganesh Bahadur Chand also confirmed to Xinhua that the plane had departed for China.
"We are taking delivery of more than 100,000 personal protective equipment sets, around 100,000 test kits, PCR machines and a few thousands infrared thermometers...," Mahendra Shrestha, director general at the Department of Health Services under the Ministry of Health and Population, told Xinhua on Saturday.
He said that the existing test kits would be enough for conducting tests for the next two weeks based on the current rate of infections. As of Friday, Nepal had tested 802 samples, according to the Health Ministry.
"The procured test kits will help us in the situation of spike in positive cases of the COVID-19," Shrestha said.
As most of the countries are banning export of test kits and personal protection equipment for health workers, China, which has effectively brought COVID-19 under control, has been exporting these materials. China has also been donating these items to various countries.