Govt’s measures to fight COVID-19 inadequate, say MPs

Kathmandu, March 19

The government’s precautionary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 were positive yet inadequate to tackle possible outbreak of the disease, according to the National Assembly lawmakers.

The lawmakers today urged the government to ensure that there was no shortage of medicines and essential supply in the market.

Lawmaker Komal Oli said there was tendency among the traders to sell face-masks in black-market and the government needed to crackdown on unscrupulous traders including those who were hoarding food items to sell them at exorbitant price later.

Lawmaker Prakash Pantha said if the government was trying to prevent Nepalis working abroad from returning to the home country in the wake of flight restrictions, that would do injustice to the migrant workers, whose remittance contributed greatly to the country’s economy.

Lawmaker Jag Prasad Sharma said the government needed to take further precautionary measures in the wake of COVID-19 threat and all political parties should unitedly fight the disease.

Lawmaker Taradevi Bhatta said the government needed to ensure smooth and equitable distribution of drinking water in all areas of Kathmandu as people were required to wash their hands more frequently.

Lawmaker Bimala Rai Paudel said the government should tell the public whether or not it screened 250 Nepali migrant workers who were deported from Qatar, recently. She said the government should implement World Health Organisations’ guideline that urged the country to isolate suspected COVID-19 patients, track and test people for symptoms and treat them if they tested positive for the disease.

Lawmaker Bhairab Sundar Shrestha said the government should not try to bring the Nepalis stranded in foreign countries home as they could increase the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Asked why the National Assembly meeting was conducted today when the government banned gathering of more than 25 persons, Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dasharath Dhamala said the House was a sensitive institution whose proceedings were not always affected by the government’s decision.

“The NA meeting was convened because it was set much earlier and there were some urgent issues to discuss.

The Parliament Secretariat, however, took precautionary measures and also checked body temperature of the lawmakers,” he said and added that the next meeting of the NA scheduled for tomorrow was likely to be rescheduled as the top political leaders were mulling over to end the current session of the Parliament in the wake of COVID-19 threat.

Dhamala also said a meeting of the House of Representatives scheduled for tomorrow was rescheduled for March 26, but before that the decision to end the current session of the Parliament could be taken by the government.