Nepal | November 26, 2020

Move to charge COVID patients draws flak

Himalayan News Service
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The Nepali Congress has condemned the government’s decision not to bear the test and treatment expenses of all coronavirus patients.

The government had yesterday decided to bear test and treatment expenses of poor, helpless, single women and differently-able citizens, senior citizens, frontline health workers, sanitation staffers and security personnel who contract COVID.

NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma issued a press release saying that the government’s decision to charge people for COV- ID-19 test and treatment was an irresponsible act.

He stated that the government had legal obligation to provide free treatment to COVID-19 patients.

The NC said the government should shoulder all economic responsibilities keeping in mind the devastating impact of COVID-19.

The main opposition stated that questions of the government’s accountability arose after the government decided to charge people for COVID-19 tests and treatment despite the Supreme Court’s order directing the government to test and treat COVID-19 patients free of cost. “How can the government not abide by the SC decision and not listen to the people, media and the opposition parties?” the NC wondered.

Uncertainty about COV- ID-19 hospitals, delay in preparation of community isolation centres, shortage of ventilators, black-marketing of medicines, unmanaged quarantine centres and whimsical decision on disposal of corpses of coronavirus victims have put a question mark on the government’s intellectual and physical existence, the NC said in its release.

The NC added that the government had the duty to increase investment for the testing and treatment by cancelling parliamentary constituency development fund and Dashain allowance earmarked for people’s representatives.

“The NC urged the PM to act in more responsible manner to save people from the pandemic,” read the NC release.

Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party also issued a press release condemning the government’s decision to charge people for COV- ID-19 test and treatment terming it anti-people. It said the government’s decision also violated the Supreme Court order. “Coronavirus is a pandemic and treating COVID-19 patients free of cost is the government’s responsibility. The government’s decision could create a dreadful situation in the country. We urge the government to rescind its irresponsible decision,” NC Parliamentary Party said in its release.

Sajha Party also issued a press release condemning the government’s decision to charge people for COV- ID-19 test and treatment.

“How can the government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who had spent millions of rupees from state coffers for his treatment abroad, shrug off its responsibility to treat people suffering from COVID-19?” asked the party in its release.

The party added that the government’s recent decision was not only a violation of people’s fundamental right and the Supreme Court order but also a matter of national shame. The party demanded that fund for the treatment of COV- ID-19 patients be managed by cutting salaries of VVIPs.

“It is akin to telling the public that if you have money you can survive, otherwise you may die,” the party stated in its release.


A version of this article appears in print on October 20, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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