Key notes from emergency press meet at Health Ministry

KATHMANDU: An emergency press meet was conducted at the Ministry of Health and Population today in the presence of Health Minister Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal.

The Ministry apprised mediapersons of the latest updates on COVID-19 situation in the country.

In the interaction, the health ministry urged all to be aware, spread awareness, and to stay away from misleading information. The government has taken the step to put those arriving from foreign countries into quarantine and isolation, and test them. A total of 71 people are in quarantine at Bhaktapur's Kharipati at present.

Likewise, the government has broadened the surveillance criteria and observation of those coming into contact with people entering the country, especially those over the age of 60 years and underlying health conditions.

It was further stated that the government is preparing to up the bed-capacity by 1,000 beds inside Kathmandu Valley and to establish 235 beds for intensive care across the country. The Teku hospital alone will increase the ICU capacity by over 10 beds for which the government has already called for a tender. The government is also acquiring necessary equipment from the market.

The government has urged the people to stop visiting health facilities unless for emergencies and for that government has stopped paying clinics, Out Patient Department (OPD) and follow-ups for two weeks, unless major cases are reported. Similarly, regular surgeries have been postponed. The government has also directed hospitals with bed-capacity of over 50 beds to operate fever clinics.

Out of the nearly 600 people who were tested for the new coronavirus, all tests had come out negative so far, except one.

However, in the press meet, the Ministry confirmed that one other person who travelled to Nepal from France has tested positive for the coronavirus. The person, a 19-year-old female Nepali student, is currently under isolation and receiving treatment at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku, Kathmandu. Prior to this, she had placed herself on a home-quarantine without any symptoms after arrival.

With this, two cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed in Nepal.