NC urges govt to fully gear up against COVID-19

Kathmandu, April 15

The main opposition party Nepali Congress issued a press release today urging the government to increase its preparedness to fight against coronavirus.

The NC said the government should launch mobile diagnostic centres in villages to broaden the scope of COVID-19 diagnosis.

The party said it was seriously concerned about the delay seen in purchase of medical equipment required for diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

While the government has the prerogative to choose the method for purchasing medical equipment, the process must be transparent, the party said. “Since the number of coronavirus infection cases is rising, the government must not delay even for a second to procure medical equipment,” the NC added.

The party said the scope of PCR method needed to be broadened as the results of rapid diagnostic test done in other countries had cast doubt on the credibility of the process. The NC said the experience of some other countries showed that the risk of infection was high when diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients was done from general hospitals where both types of patients — COVID-19 as well as patients of other diseases — were treated in the same hospital.

The main opposition party urged the government to learn from the experiences of foreign countries and make right kind of arrangements for diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus patients.

The NC also asked the government to do the needful to address the challenge posed by asymptomatic COVID-19 patients as was the case with two residents of Sun City Apartments, who tested positive for the virus 28 days after they returned to Nepal from the UK.

The party said that 200,000 people had crossed into Nepal from several border points before the lockdown was imposed in the country out of which less than 15 per cent stayed in quarantine.

The NC said that the Sun City apartments cases indicated that infected people could remain asymptomatic for 28 days and as they assimilated in society, the chances of them infecting many other people in the community were high. The NC cited the case of the Dhading youth who tested positive for coronavirus in the rapid diagnostic test 40 days after he returned from South Korea.

The main opposition party said that the Rautahat youth who tested positive for COVID-19 had travelled from India to Nepal during the lockdown. Hence, the government should stop such practices and ensure that all arrivals from foreign countries stayed in quarantine for the specified period.

Sixteen people, including three Indian nationals, have tested positive for COVID-19.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 16, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.