A help desk set up by a private hospital in Lakeside, Pokhara to provide information about COVID-19 in collaboration with Pokhara Metropolis is pictured on Monday. The health desk has been educating visitors including foreigners and domestic tourists about ways to protect oneself from the virus. Photo Courtesy: Krishna Dawadi/Rss
KATHMANDU, March 17: A high-level coordination committee to prevent coronavirus outbreak has decided to set up 115 beds for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 1,000 isolation wards in the Kathmandu Valley to curb the possible outbreak of the deadly disease that has spread to more than 100 countries across the globe.
A meeting of the committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ishwar Pokhrel on Monday also instructed the provincial governments to set up 120 ICU beds without any further delay.
Such ICU beds and isolation wards will be established at major government hospitals including those run by the security agencies.
Even though the government has set up quarantine facility to isolate suspected coronavirus patients, the government lacks separate ICU beds to treat the patients infected by the deadly virus.
Worried over the possible outbreak of the global pandemic, the government has decided to enhance its health facilities.
Emerging from the meeting, Narayan Prasad Bidari, secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, said that the federal government will set up 115 ICU beds in the capital whereas the provincial governments are asked to set up 120 ICU beds to treat coronavirus patients in case the deadly virus spreads in the country.
The meeting has decided to set up 1000 isolation beds, arrange medicines and mobilize specialized health workers to check the spread of the disease.
The provincial governments have been asked to ensure enough isolation wards.
In a bid to encourage the health workers, the committee has proposed to provide incentives to the doctors and government officials deployed to treat the virus-infected patients and has also pledged for covering their insurance.
All 128 local bodies sharing border with India have been asked to mandatorily screen anyone entering the country at the border checkpoints. Likewise, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has been instructed to strictly screen all domestic and international passengers.
The committee has asked the authorities concerned to arrange for adequate infrared thermometer guns and other essential health equipment to screen the visitors.
Of late, no person has been either infected by coronavirus or fallen victim to the deadly disease in Nepal.
A Nepali student returning from China’s Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, was tested positive for coronavirus in January but he has returned home after treatment. His condition is said to be normal after the treatment.