Republica Morning Brief: Oct 17

Published On: October 17, 2020 06:03 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 17: In case you missed them, here are the major news stories that Republica covered over the past 24 hours.

Minister for Home Affairs, Ram Bahadur Thapa has hinted at acting tough on the underground Netra Bikram Chand-led Nepal Communist Party (NCP). Addressing a function at the Nepal Police headquarters, Naxal, to mark the 65th Nepal Police Day, the home minister said that the government will act aggressively against all underground outfits who have been launching extortion drive, bringing hurdles to development projects and working against the people’s rights to live with freedom. However, Minister Thapa did not take the name of the Chand-led group, which has been running violent activities for the past few years, and whose activities have been banned by the government since the second week of March, 2019.“Some underground forces are launching extortion drives, bringing hurdles to economic development and working against the people’s rights to live with freedom by posing a challenge to the country’s constitution,” Thapa said.

The government has transferred nearly a dozen secretaries on the same day three newly-appointed ministers took the oath of office and secrecy. A cabinet meeting held on Thursday evening took a decision to this effect. Cabinet sources said Secretary at the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) Yadab Koirala has been transferred to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA). Secretary at Kathmandu Metropolitan City Ek Narayan Aryal has been transferred to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation in the new bureaucratic reshuffle. Similarly, Secretary at the MoGAGA Surya Prasad Gautam has been transferred to the Ministry of Youths and Sports (MoYS) while Secretary at the MoYS Ram Prasad Thapaliya has been transferred to the Public Procurement Monitoring Office.

Health workers involved in COVID-19 treatment have been asked to stay in quarantine or isolation facilities only if they develop symptoms related to COVID-19 infection or test positive for the virus. The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has made a decision to this effect in order to manage the manpower crunch at COVID-19 hospitals. Earlier, the health workers involved in COVID-19 treatment at government hospitals used to stay in quarantine for 15 days after involvement in the treatment for 15 days. Issuing a directive on Friday, the health ministry has directed all COVID-19 designated hospitals to allow the health workers and other employees directly involved in treatment to stay in quarantine or isolation centers only if they test positive for the virus or show any symptoms related to it.

Nepal on Friday reported as many as 4,392 new cases of the novel coronavirus infection, according to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP). Since the country reported the first case of the pandemic on January 23 earlier this year, the total number of infected people in Nepal has reached 126,137 including 88,040 recoveries and 715 deaths. The COVID-19 death tally in Nepal went past 700 on Friday including 21 new cases of fatalities reported in the past 24 hours. According to the latest updates unveiled by the ministry, as many as 37,382 active patients are undergoing treatment for the disease at various isolation centers across the country. With 16,530 real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests carried out in the past 24 hours, the labs across the country so far have conducted a total of 1,254,167 PCR tests to confirm the infection of the disease. 

With 2,402 new cases recorded on Friday, the Kathmandu Valley’s COVID-19 case tally surged to 51,738 on Friday. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), 1,784 people in Kathmandu, 244 in Bhaktapur and 374 in Lalitpur were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. Of the 4,392 new cases recorded across the country, 2,402 were detected in the Valley alone. Three districts in the Valley -- Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur -- are among the districts with the highest number of active cases in the country.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Friday rebuffed allegations made by former Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai about PM Oli’s involvement in corruption in Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project. Addressing a program organized at the Nepal Police headquarters, Naxal, to mark the 65th Nepal Police Day, Prime Minister Oli said that his government has shown zero tolerance against corruption. Oli said that some people have made irresponsible remarks against him although his government has left no stone unturned to control corruption in the country.

Ghandruk Village, a popular tourist destination in Kaski district in the western hills of Nepal, has announced to suspend all its tourism related activities to contain further spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The hotel entrepreneurs in Ghandruk Village, which is also one of the major entry points to the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), decided to suspend their services until further notice even as this period marks the peak season of the arrival of tourists. Chairman of Ghandruk Tourism Development Committee Kisam Gurung said they decided to suspend the tourism related services as there was fear of further spread of the COVID-19 in the area. Tourists, especially trekkers, reach the ABC via Ghandruk walking past Tadhapani, Ghorepani and Chhomrong.





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