We stand with the government but theres a lot that needs to be done: Gagan Thapa

KATHMANDU: Nepali Congress leader Gagan Kumar Thapa today wrote an open letter to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli extending support to the government in the fight against Coronavirus epidemic, adding that the measures that are being taken right now may not be adequate to emerge victorious in what appears to be a long battle.

"Respected Prime Minister, I am perpetually with you in this battle against the pandemic. The measures we have taken right now are, however, are inadequate. The methods we have undertaken to fight this fight may not get us through these trying times. Therefore, I am writing this letter to draw your attention towards a few immediate measures that need to be addressed in this hour," Thapa states, in a five-page long letter to the head of the government.

Thapa has stressed on the need for strict quarantine of those entering from the entry points so as to limit, in fact restrict the imported cases of coronavirus infection from entering and subsequently transmitting en masse. He also points towards the lapse of authorities in proper monitoring and documentation of those entering Nepal via airway in the past few days, in the letter.

Stating that one infected person is enough to trigger a chain of transmission, Thapa quoted WHO DG Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to make a case in point that lockdown is a valid but a defensive measure and what Nepal needs to do now is get on an offensive track. "Lets make the best use of now, of this lockdown, and conduct widespread tests of possible carriers. This should begin immediately and effectively in all provinces and by fully utilising the resources, expanding resources as we work," Thapa suggests in the letter.

A few key suggestions offered by the NC leader to the Prime Minister are

  • Conducive environment in hospitals across the country for those showing symptoms of the infection
  • Coordinate with local levels for identification and monitoring of those that have recently traveled abroad
  • Test, Test, Test - This not only offers relief but also eases the way ahead in sketching further plans
  • Extend lockdown, conduct contact tracing and place possible carriers under quarantine for breaking the chain of transmission
  • Immediate implementation of all announcements made to strengthen and prepare health facilities for battling the virus in the days to come
  • Immediate procurement and supply of Personal Protective Equipment for health practitioners who are leading this fight from the frontlines
  • Effective, singular, command and control mechanism for implementing decisions
  • Educate and inform people about the situation, what the lockdown entails - not only now but in the days to come; among other points