Kathmandu: Former Nepal Prime Minister and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in isolation at his residence, as the Himalayan nation continues to grapple with an alarming rise in coronavirus cases.
“Chairman of our party – CPN-UML, KP Sharma Oli has tested positive for COVID-19 and is taking rest at his residence in Balkot,” Bishnu Rijal, Deputy Chief of the party’s Central Publicity department tweeted. Oli, 70, had been feeling uneasy, and a polymerase chain reaction test conducted on Saturday had returned positive, the Kathmandu Post newspaper said.
He had addressed a mass gathering in Jhapa on January 9, and also attended party functions in Kathmandu, which was how he might have contracted the virus, the report said quoting party officials. Even though he is fully vaccinated, Oli is a patient with comorbidities as he underwent a second kidney transplant in March 2020.
Earlier this month, former Prime Minister and senior leader in Nepal’s ruling coalition, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has also tested positive for COVID-19. The spike in cases comes amid the Nepal government introducing a slew of measures to curb the spread of the virus.
On Saturday, it imposed the odd-even road rationing scheme for public and private vehicles in Kathmandu Valley. Last week, Nepal’s COVID-19 task force had issued a slew of recommendations such as restrictions on gatherings, ban on rallies, closure of schools, vaccination cards being made mandatory at public places and instructed hotel guests to get tested every three days.
Nepal reported 6,462 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday along with 1,416 recoveries and four deaths, the Ministry of Health and Population said. There are currently 77,295 active cases across the country, with 11,655 deaths.
The Kathmandu Valley alone recorded 3,791 cases of the virus on Sunday. Till date, Nepal has only fully vaccinated around 41 per cent of its population. Officials said 88 per cent of the new COVID-19 infections are of the Omicron variant, according to a S–gene sequencing study conducted on 32 random samples at the National Laboratory in Teku, Kathmandu.
It is learnt that Omicron has replaced Delta as the most prevalent variant.