NHRC tells government to respect rights of those in quarantine

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Kathmandu, May 19

The National Human Rights Commission has warned the authorities against restricting citizens’ fundamental rights in quarantine centres.

Citing its monitoring report, the rights body stated that quarantined persons didn’t have access to adequate nutritious food, drinking water, toilets, proper shelter and health care facilities, contrary to the standard set by the World Health Organisation.

The NHRC expressed concern about dilapidated quarantine facilities after a quarantined youth died of COVID-19 in Banke.

“Due to lack of proper facilities, asymptomatic persons avoid staying in quarantine centres. Even those quarantined are attempting to run away disregarding the security force and health workers. This has increased the risk of disease transmission at the community level,” warned the NHRC in a monitoring report released today.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Health and Population, 21,623 persons suspected of having contracted novel coronavirus are living in quarantine centres across the country. “The NHRC calls on the government and authorities concerned to ensure basic amenities in quarantine centres, along with regular health check-up as per the Guidelines for the Operation and Management of quarantine facilities, issued by the government and WHO,” adds the report.

WHO standards require that the authorities concerned have to maintain good hygiene and ensure health and safety equipment at the centres. All quarantine centres need to be equipped with gender-friendly bathrooms and toilets, food, dining areas, visitor entry and exit points and waiting rooms. Health workers deputed to quarantine centres are also responsible for taking care of quarantined persons, maintaining social distancing among them, communicating to them on a regular basis and ensuring availability of information, education and communication materials on prevention of exposure to COVID-19. Quarantined people should also have access to soaps, sanitisers, running water, separate towels, tissue papers and trash bins.

“We request the authorities to make necessary arrangements for regular communication between quarantined people and their families. We also draw the attention of the government to the safety of doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, security forces, ambulance drivers and volunteers involved in the management of bodies who have been working round-the-clock for prevention, treatment and control of COVID-19, along with mediapersons,” added NHRC.

The rights body also urged the government to utilise the Central Relief Fund in the battle against COVID-19 in coordination with provincial and local levels.

The NHRC also condoled the death of two persons who succumbed to COVID-19 and requested the government to provide relief to their families.

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


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