Cabinet takes further decisions to curb COVID-19 spread as nation enters Stage 2 of transmission

KATHMANDU: A meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Saturday took some important decisions as further precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Government Spokesperson, Minister of Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada, made public the following decisions of the Cabinet:

1) Restriction of movement to make lockdown more effective

2) Mass scale tests in three districts identified as sensitive areas (Kailali, Kanchanpur, Baglung)

3) Equipping health practitioners

In order to make the lockdown more effective, mobilisation of people will be monitored. Restriction of movement will be enforced from province to province, district to district, local level to local level. Mechanisms will be put in place to ensure that people strictly comply with the lockdown rules.

Steps will be taken to control further spread of the epidemic in the country. Mass rapid tests will be conducted in three areas identified as the most sensitive -- Kailali, Kanchanpur and Baglung, where the recent COVID-19 positive cases have been detected. Rapid diagnostic tests of possible carriers will be carried out, followed by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method re-test.

Comprehending the contribution of and service provided by the health workers at such a crucial time, steps will be taken by the government to mobilise them and keep them safe. To encourage the health professionals, they will be provided with insurance and motivation allowance. They will be deployed for service after ensuring their safety. Likewise, the process of procuring medical equipment will be expedited and protocol based usage of the same will be carried out. Those posing as threats to health-workers or to health care facilities will be penalised.

The Cabinet made the decisions in the wake of first local transmission of coronavirus infection being confirmed in the country today. A 34-year-old woman from Kailali, who is known be the sister-in-law of one of the earlier infected persons, has contracted the disease, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.

In addition to that, two other persons tested positive for COVID-19. The Ministry of Health and Population today shared the information of three new confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which two persons recently returned to Nepal from India while the other contracted the contagion from her brother-in-law.

Moreover, Nepal today entered the second stage of coronavirus transmission following the confirmation of the country's first locally transmitted case in the far-west.

No decision was made today on the extension of lockdown, which will be decided in the next meeting of the cabinet. The lockdown stands effective till the midnight of April 7.