Kathmandu, March 12
Nepali Congress lawmakers slammed Minister of Health and Population Bhanubhakta Dhakal for telling the public to be ready for self-quarantine in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
NC whip Pushpa Bhusal told the House of Representatives meeting today that Dhakal should clarify to the House why he made the ‘irresponsible remarks’ about the need for self-quarantine and self-isolation, as it would only spread panic.
Recently, Dhakal had said if people had to be quarantined and isolated, they would have to make arrangements to do so themselves and the government was not in a position to have Kharipati-like quarantine centres. Recently, the government had quarantined 175 Nepali nationals brought from China in Kharipati, Bhaktapur, for two weeks.
Bhusal also drew the attention of the House and the government over shortage of food, cooking gas, medicines, sanitisers and face masks in the market. She criticised the government for failing to reduce the price of gasoline in the market as gasoline price had decreased in the international market by 30 per cent.
NC lawmakers Bhimsen Das Pradhan urged the government to immediately end the current session of Parliament, shut schools and other mass gathering places to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. NC lawmaker Bharat Kumar Sah added that the current session of Parliament should end soon to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection to lawmakers.
As developed countries in Europe and Americas, with much better health infrastructure than Nepal, are struggling to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, Nepal should take precautionary steps to prevent the disease from entering Nepal, he added.
Other NC MPs z Dila Sangraula and Ram Bahadur Bista also demanded government’s immediate intervention to end the shortage of food items, medicines, face masks and sanitisers in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Mahendra Ray Yadav said there should be one window system to disseminate information related to the risk of COVID-19 and precautions that the public should take to keep the disease at bay. He pointed at the government’s laxity on border entry points.
Samajbadi Party-Nepal lawmaker Pradeep Kumar Yadav said the government was supposed to reduce the gasoline price immediately after the reduction of gasoline price in the international market.
Another SP-N lawmaker Renu Kumari Yadav said lawmakers were at risk of COVID-19 infection within the HoR as their chairs were not disinfected properly.
A version of this article appears in print on March 13, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.