NC registers notice of attention at HoR over govt handling of COVID-19

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KATHMANDU, JUNE 17

Three Nepali Congress lawmakers today registered a notice of attention at Operation Division of the House of Representatives, demanding that Minister of Health and Population Bhanubhakta Dhakal provide full and accurate information to the lower House of the activities undertaken by the government for prevention, control and reduction of the COVID-19 outbreak.

NC parliamentary party Chief Whip Balkrishna Khand, Whip Pushpa Bhusal and lawmaker Gagan Kumar Thapa urged Minister Dhakal to present the government’s way forward in tackling the COVID-19 crisis. The notice of attention mainly focuses on revision of COVID-19 testing standards, expansion of polymerase chain reaction tests, immediate closure of rapid diagnostic tests, implementation of standard on operation of quarantine facilities, and providing necessary resources to local levels for effective management of quarantine facilities.

The main opposition party has also sought clarification from the government on its activities to enhance contract tracing, capacity development of health workers, arrangement of necessary logistics for dedicated hospitals, access of health workers to safety gears, management of adequate isolation beds and oxygen plants, critical care training for health workers in remote areas, delivery of regular health services for people, special care for vulnerable groups, conduction of immunisation campaign and availability of essential drugs throughout the country.

The NC said it wanted the government to clarify what it was doing to supply quality medical equipment and other logistic to all health facilities and rescue Nepalis stranded in various countries.

“The government has claimed that it spent a total of Rs 10 billion to purchase medical equipment, rescue Nepali citizens from foreign countries, manage quarantine facilities and distribute relief materials to people. We are not convinced by the baseless arguments the government has made so far. We demand the government to justify the expenditure with all supporting documents,” read the notice of attention.

The NC has also expressed serious concern over rising trend of suicide amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “It reflects the growing frustration of citizens with the government’s poor handling of the present crisis,” read the notice of attention. It has urged the government to provide psycho-social counselling for people at the grassroots level and address their frustration.

Statistics released by Nepal Police suggest that as many as 875 persons committed suicide from March 24 to May 16.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 18, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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