Directs Nepali Army to set up 1,000-bed temporary hospitals in all provinces, capital


Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has directed the Nepali Army to set up 1,000-bed temporary COVID-19 hospitals in all the provinces and in Kathmandu.

Addressing the nation, Oli said the new building of Bir Hospital, Tri Chandra Military Hospital, medical colleges of Kathmandu and big government, and private hospitals would be operated as COVID-19 hospitals.

Oli has also directed provincial governments to convert medical colleges and big hospitals into COV- ID-19 hospitals.

He said the government had made provisions for using community hospitals, stadiums, auditoriums, party palaces, hotels, factories, and warehouses as quarantine facilities, isolation centres and holding centres.

Oli said if any hospital was found denying beds to patients, then action would be taken against such hospitals.

He said the government would try to ensure that life-saving medicines were available in the market. He said retired medical doctors would be hired on contract basis for one year for treatment of COVID-19 patients, and added that the government would provide an additional 50 per cent allowance to frontline health workers and medical staffers.

He said they would be insured.

The PM also urged the public to follow health protocols to ward off COVID-19.

He also requested neighbouring countries, friendly countries, and international organisations to help Nepal with COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostic equipment and kits, oxygen therapy, critical care medicines, and critical care furniture to combat the pandemic.

Oli said vaccines and critical care medicines were global goods and everyone should have access to them.

"In this interconnected and interlinked world, a pandemic like this spares no one and no one is safe," he said.

"Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Nepal has accorded highest priority to its prevention, control, and treatment. We have strengthened our health infrastructure facilities, widened test coverage, enhanced health personnel's capacity, and started vaccinating people," Oli added.

He said Nepal received meaningful support from its friends and well-wishers over the past 14 months which helped the country to a great extent in the course of containing and mitigating the disease and providing treatment to the people.

"Despite our utmost effort, the second wave of COVID-19 has severely hit the country with the rising number of infected people and mortality rate. I am aware that this invisible enemy has tested our ability and exposed our vulnerability globally. But I believe that we can overcome this deadly disease through our collective efforts," Oli added.

He said the government was trying its best to ensure supply of more COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX programme and from Russia and China.

He said the government would enforce prohibitory orders more strictly, if necessary.

He said people entering Nepal from India would have to mandatorily undergo antigen test and people flying in would also be tested.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 4, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.