Lockdown or declaration of health emergency has become essential: Health Minister

KATHMANDU: Minister for Health and Population Hridayesh Tripathi has said that new steps are needed for the prevention, treatment and control of COVID-19. In a virtual press conference held by the ministry today, he said that the current steps taken to prevent COVID-19 are not enough and that lockdown and declaration of a health emergency is essential.

“A collective decision is needed,” he said. He warned that in the current situation if the second wave of infections increases at the same rate the government will not be able to provide intensive care units, high-dependency units and ventilators. He urged all to remain vigilant as the pandemic is gradually escalating and requested y not to be involved in the black market as there is a shortage of oxygen gas in the country.

Minister Tripathi urged not to talk without prior knowledge about the vaccine against COVID-19. “The government has not paid anyone a commission for the purchase of the vaccine, government has bought the vaccine from a direct vaccine company for four dollars”

He clarified that the 1 million quantity of vaccines purchased by Nepal had not arrived due to the fire at the Covishield vaccine manufacturing company Serum Institute of India and also due to rising COVId infected in India.” India has also not been allowed to export due to increased number of  COVID infected. After India gives permission for export, one million vaccines purchased in Nepal will come.”

He informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is holding discussions with the embassies of the United States, Russia, China and the United Kingdom in Nepal to bring the vaccine to Nepal.

On the occasion, Secretary of the Ministry Laxman Aryal said that the government can declare a health emergency as per the need as the ministry has already suggested it. He informed that Rs 14 billion has been secured today with the Ministry of Finance for the purchase of health related materials, equipment and manpower management.

The chief expert of the ministry, Dr. Roshan Pokharel said that the number of infected people has increased by 128,000 in a month, adding that the infection can be prevented and controlled through the efforts of all. He also informed that the necessary steps to provide  remedies for the treatment like Remdesivir are being taken.

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