Nepal | December 02, 2020

Govt decides not to foot cost of COVID test, treatment

SABITRI DHAKAL
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KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 18

The government has decided not to bear test and treatment expenses of coronavirus patients. An individual will have to bear those costs from now onwards.

Speaking at a press briefing today Jageshwor Gautam, spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population, said the cost of the test and treatment for coronavirus should be borne by the individual himself/herself. The decision will be effective from today and will be applicable at all government and non-government hospitals and laboratories.

“The government however will bear the cost of those who are poor, helpless, single women, differently-able citizens, senior citizens, frontline health workers, sanitation staffers and security personnel.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court orders govt to ensure free tests, treatment of coronavirus

If they have insured themselves, the cost of the treatment will be deducted from their insurance amount,” said Gautam.

For the rest, individuals themselves should bear the cost of test and treatment of the coronavirus infection.

The Supreme Court had ordered the government on October 1 to conduct polymerase chain reaction test of all people, who wanted to undergo the test free of cost. It had also observed that COVID-19 was an infectious disease and as per legal provisions, everybody had the right to get free diagnosis and treatment for the disease.

The Supreme Court had also ordered that even those who were getting examined as a requirement for visa should also not be charged. The verdict was delivered by a division bench of justices Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Tanka Bahadur Moktan on October 1, in response to a writ petition filed by advocates Lokendra Oli and Keshar Jung KC.

“The decision taken by the government requiring an individual to bear the test and treatment cost of coronavirus is against the Supreme Court’s order. The government has gone against the order given by the court. Such things do not happen in countries where there is a rule of law,” said advocate Lokendra Oli.

“The government must follow the court’s order. The government has gone against the constitution as our constitution clearly explains that the order given by the Supreme Court must be followed by everyone. We will now file a defamation case against the government for not following the court’s order,” said Oli.

There is a provision of one year jail and fine of Rs 10,000 for a person who goes against the Supreme Court’s order.


A version of this article appears in print on October 19, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


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