Key points from PM Oli's address to the nation

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli addressed the nation today and spoke about the ongoing global threat of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) for which we, as a nation, need to take urgent measures to reduce the risk of its outbreak.

The key points from the Prime Minister's address to the nation today:

The whole world right now is going through a very tough time in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic. Majority of the countries have been affected by the coronavirus infection. Though the direct effect of the pandemic has not been seen in our country yet, we are not in the position to take the situation lightly.

The government, from the beginning, has been doing special preparations to prevent the coronavirus infection from entering the nation, to spread awareness, to manage quarantine facilities and treatment of the infected (if such situation arose). In this context, the government carried out rescue and quarantine of Nepali students from China’s Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak.

Prior to the Prime Minister’s kidney transplant surgery, a high-level committee was formed under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister, also the Defence Minister, Ishwar Pokharel, to manage coronavirus outbreak.

It is not easy to fight this epidemic. It is vital that we change our behaviour and daily routines for sometime. This might cause some inconvenience in our day to day lives. But to defeat the possible risk of infection, we do not have any other choice.

  • Take special care in maintaining cleanliness and hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and make use of the sanitizer
  • Stay away from crowds
  • Stay at home as far as possible
  • Do not hoard items of utmost importance
  • Do not be negatively affected by rumours
  • Heed the advice of doctors and experts
  • Be patient and calm
  • Be alert but do not panic

Those returning to Nepal from affected countries will have to stay in a 14-day quarantine to protect themselves, their families and community from getting infected. Therefore, everyone is expected to fulfil the role of a responsible citizen.

The government will not let any stone remain unturned to prevent and control the infection. For this, the government has prioritised providing of services from various hospitals across the country, management of medical supplies and equipment, and provision of necessary human resources. Likewise, provision has been made to encourage and mobilise health professionals and security bodies who will directly be involved in managing the outbreak.

The government encourages employees and services providers of the private sector to carry out their works and services through the online medium as far as possible. However, all government employees, and private sector employees of crucial services that cannot be carried out online, will be present at their workplaces to perform their duties.

With the help of the private sector, the government has managed to facilitate regular procurement of important consumer goods including food items. However, if anyone is found involved in creating artificial shortage, hoarding and black marketing, adulteration, and other such criminal activities, then they will be subject to strict action as per the existing laws.

The Ministry of Finance is carrying out a detailed study of the global economic effect caused by the pandemic. The government will surely introduce appropriate programmes to minimise the economic risks after analysing the effects (which have already taken place or might in the future) on the nation’s economy.

Keeping in mind the health and safety of everyone, the government has brought into effect certain provisions as necessary measures at a time like this.

  • All international flights entering Nepal from March 22 to March 31 will be halted.
  • Those entering the country through land entry points will have to go through health check-ups to minimise the risk of infection. Coordination will be carried out with the neighbouring countries for the same.
  • All services except those listed as essential services in the Official Gazette of the Government of Nepal, being provided by all private, community, public institutions under the local, provincial and federal levels shall be halted from March 22 until April 3.
  • Operation of all types of long-distance public vehicles across the country will be halted, to be effective from March 23, until further notice.
  • Public places such as cinema halls, among others, will be closed down for the time being.
  • Teaching and learning activities, along with examinations, at schools, colleges and universities have been halted.
  • In view of the pandemic, additional measures will be taken as necessary.

The Government of Nepal is aware of the inconvenience faced by the Nepalis inside and outside the country and will keep making efforts to manage the difficult situation to normalise people’s lives.