KATHMANDU, Oct 19: The government has given additional powers to Chief District Officers (CDOs) to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
According to Minister for Communications and Information Technology Parbat Gurung, the CDOs are given powers to regulate, manage and control inter-district vehicular movement in the district that has more than 200 active cases of COVID-19 and suspend any works or services in the entire district or in parts of the district that has more than 500 active COVID-19 cases.
Although CDOs have been using this power since a few months ago, the government has decided to amend its previous order and publish new provisions in Nepal Gazette to formalize their powers. Keeping in view of the misuse of travel passes in the past, the cabinet meeting has also made it mandatory for CDOs issuing inter-district travel pass to coordinate with the CDOs concerned of other districts.
The CDOs are not allowed to issue a travel pass that allows crossing the district that has enforced prohibitory order without receiving the prior written consent of the CDOs concerned, according to Minister Gurung, who is also the government's spokesperson.
Quarantine facilities to be developed as isolation centers
Amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Kathmandu Valley and various other districts in the country, the government has decided to develop the existing quarantine facilities as isolation centers.
According to Minister Gurung, who is also the government spokesperson, the Health Ministry in coordination with Home Ministry will develop the quarantine facilities that are not used yet or the quarantine facilities that have necessary infrastructures as isolation centers within 15 days.
The cabinet meeting held recently also decided to transform isolation centers in the districts that have witnessed a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases as COVID-19 hospitals with a provision to provide general services as well.
The meeting also decided to arrange a minimum of 200 high dependency units (HDUs) in each province and 2,000 in Kathmandu Valley within the next 15 days keeping in view of the increasing cases of COVID-19. Ministry of Health will make the necessary arrangements to develop ICU and HDU in private and community-run hospitals in case the number of ICUs and HDUs was less than adequate in the hospitals designated as COVID-19 hospitals.
Necessary arrangement to be made to operate electric crematorium 24 hours a day
Minister Gurung said the cabinet meeting also decided to make necessary arrangements to operate the electric crematorium in Pashupati Aryaghat premises on a clock basis. The meeting has also directed the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation to seek necessary funds from the Finance Ministry and develop one hybrid crematorium there in view of the rising cases of COVID-19 related deaths.