KATHMANDU, May 12: Minister for Health and Population Hridayesh Tripathi has said that new steps are needed for the prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19.
Speaking at a virtual press conference organized by the Ministry of Health and Population on Tuesday, Minister Tripathi said that the current steps taken to prevent COVID-19 would not be enough and that a health emergency or complete lockdown is necessary to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. "A collective decision is needed," he said.
Minister Tripathi warned that the government resources including intensive care unit (ICU), high dependency unit and ventilators would not be able to handle the flow of patients if the infection rate continues to increase at the current pace. He urged all to remain vigilant as the pandemic is gradually escalating. He also asked all not to be involved in blackmarketing at a time when the country is going through shortage of oxygen gas.
Minister Tripathi urged not to speak arbitrarily about the vaccine against COVID-19 without understanding the facts. "The government has not paid anyone a commission for the purchase of the vaccine," he said. “The government has directly purchased the vaccines for four US dollars per dose from the manufacturer itself.”
Minister Tripathi clarified that 1 million doses of vaccines purchased by Nepal had not arrived due to fire at ‘Covishield’ vaccine manufacturing company, Serum Institute of India and rapid spread of infection in India. "As the cases in India continue to surge, approval for export has been halted for now,” he said, “After the approval, Nepal will import the designated doses of vaccines from India.”
Minister Tripathi 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 vaccines to Nepal.
Secretary of the MoHP, Laxman Aryal said that the government can now declare a health emergency as necessary as per the recommendation made by the MoHP. He informed that Rs 14 billion has been secured from the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday for the purchase of health related materials, equipment and the management of necessary human resources. Likewise, Dr Roshan Pokharel, chief expert of the MoHP, said the number of infected people has increased by 128,000 in a month and the crisis can be overcome only through cooperation from everyone. He also informed that the government has started making Remdesivir, which is necessary for the treatment of COVID-19 infected people, easily available.