Govt urged to guarantee citizens’ right to health

Kathmandu, July 5

The National Human Rights Commission has urged the Government of Nepal to guarantee the right to health to every citizen amid the spike in COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the country.

Issuing a press release today, the rights body expressed grave concern regarding the finding of traces of SARS-Cov-2 in drainage water of Kathmandu valley during laboratory test of samples and said it could be an indication that the urban area had already experienced community transmission of COVID-19 as opined by scientists and researchers.

The NHRC also renewed its call on the government to opt for mass PCR testing for early detection of the disease across the country.

“Discovery of coronavirus in drainage water necessitates that the government maintain more vigilance against the infectious disease and speed up PRC tests, the most reliable testing method,” read the release.

It may be recalled that the NHRC had repeatedly urged the government to expand the coverage of PCR testing and improve the condition of quarantine facilities. “The failure of the government to pay proper attention to this request may have contributed to community transmission of the deadly virus,” read the release.

Though the rate of RDT test is higher than PCR, the former is not reliable. Only the test using the PCR method can confirm whether a person is infected with the virus. “We would like to yet again urge the government to respond to the situation effectively in a densely populated urban area like Kathmandu valley for prevention of community transmission of the contagion by adopting preventive and control measures,” it added.

The rights body has also warned the authorities against restricting citizens’ fundamental rights in quarantine facilities.

“Contrary to the standard set by the government and World Health Organisation, quarantined persons don’t have access to adequate nutritious food, drinking water, toilet, proper shelter and health care facility,” the rights body stated citing its monitoring report.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 6, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.