People urged not to indulge in smear campaign

Kathmandu, April 19

Virologist Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, who was summoned by the Ministry of Health and Population today, issued a press release urging all not to indulge in smear campaign against Minister of Health and Population Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Ministry of Health and Population.

The media was abuzz with reports that Dr Pun was asked to furnish explanation as a punishment for criticising the government’s coronavirus response.

Dr Pun issued a press release after meeting office bearers of the ministry saying he took his summoning as a normal process and would continue doing his job as usual. Dr Pun also urged all to help the country fight against COVID-19 pandemic unitedly. A source at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, where Dr Pun is currently posted, said Dr Pun had been expressing his expert opinion about COVID-19 and there was no reason for anybody to be angry with him.

Dr Khem Bahadur Karki, health adviser to the minister of Health and Population told THT that the ministry had asked Dr Pun to help the ministry in its response against COVID-19 pandemic in a manner that does not hinder his contribution at STIDH but media outlets sensationalised the issue. Dr Pun neither took calls from the THT scribe nor did he respond to THT’s message seeking his response to the controversy.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 20, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.