NC provides Rs 5 million to COVID-19 fund

Kathmandu, March 24

The main opposition Nepali Congress today announced it would contribute a lump sum of Rs 5 million to a fund that the government recently created for prevention and control of the novel coronavirus and treatment of the infected.

The government had put in seed money of Rs 500 million in the fund.

The Nepali Congress had earlier decided that all its federal lawmakers would contribute their 15-day salary to the fund. The new contribution is in addition to lawmakers’ individual contribution, the NC said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the NC suggested that the government come up with a special relief package for daily-wage earners, students and unemployed, keeping in mind the fact that the seven-day lockdown could be extended.

The NC also demanded that the government come up with relief package for businesses because of the negative impact of lockdown on businesses, which have been forced to remain closed.

“Because of business closures, we might face a new type of confrontation between employers and employees. The government needs to amicably resolve any such possible situation in a win-win manner,” said NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma in the statement.

“Various weekly newspapers have ceased publications temporarily. Other newspapers might also face a similar situation. Therefore, the government must take steps so that journalists can disseminate right information in this time of crisis in a motivated and secure environment.”

Issuing a statement, NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said the government should leave no stone unturned to ensure effective quarantine and isolation services, citing a recent incident in which a huge number of Nepalis fled a quarantine facility in Banke.

“Therefore, the government needs to make sure citizens are willing to stay in quarantine. The government should not undermine the importance of quarantine and isolation,” said Sharma.

The NC also suggested that laboratories be installed in all seven provinces to ensure that test samples are not sent to Kathmandu, delaying the testing process.

The NC suggested that the government ensure a onedoor policy to ensure right information is disseminated through the right channel.

As per the NC, all three tiers of government must coordinate with each other to ensure smooth supply of essential goods such as food, water, medicine, and cooking gas.

The government should make it clear through a public notice what those in self-quarantine must do if they witness symptoms of COVID-19 infection. The government, political parties and society must work to keep the morale of front-line health workers high, according to the NC.

“Despite repeated warnings from the World Health Organisation, the government does not have enough stock of personal protection equipment. This is sheer carelessness. The government must ensure such products are immediately imported,” said Sharma.