Nepal | July 06, 2020

Panel fails to chalk out plan to tackle COVID-19

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Kathmandu, March 15

A high level COVID-19 Prevention and Coordination Committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Ishwar Pokhrel was not been able to draft any specific action plan to tackle possible outbreak of novel coronavirus in the country.

Five chief ministers of the seven provinces, except Province 2 and Gandaki Province, met at the federal capital today to formulate a specific action plan and for smooth coordination among all three tiers of the government during emergency. But, over three hours long meeting, also participated in by social development ministers of all the provinces could not take any decision, except issuing general ‘do’s and don’ts’ in the event of the virus outbreak.

Narayan Prasad Bidari, a member of the COVID-19 PCC said, “A detail action plan will be formulated tomorrow as the committee today listened to suggestions from CMs of all provinces.” Minute of today’s meeting mentioned about increasing awareness raising programmes against the coronavirus, managing inspection and quarantine facility and facilitating health check-up of ailing citizens. It also read that the government would initiate actions like controlling the virus and easing availability of goods for daily consumption in the market.

Province 1 CM Sher Dhan Rai, after attending the meeting told THT that he along with provincial assembly members briefed the federal government about quarantine system and isolation beds at hospitals in their respective provinces. “Most of us sought support from the federal government to manage health workers and doctors as the provinces lacked human resources.”

Mahendra Bahadur Shahi, CM of Karnali Province said “We sought support for food supply in remote hilly region as we fear more people could die of hunger than from the coronavirus if food security was not guaranteed.” He added that all the provinces had requested the high-level committee to facilitate coronavirus test facility in all provinces.

A version of this article appears in print on March 16, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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