KATHMANDU, March 11: While stating that the government will be able to keep in hospital isolation wards only those who require further treatment for the new coronavirus infection, Health Minister Bhanubhakta Dhakal has said that all individuals who have been potentially exposed to infection will now need to remain in self-quarantine.
Dhakal, who was speaking after a memorandum was submitted to him by the Youth Association of Nepal (YAN), a sister organization of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) on Tuesday, said that it will be next to impossible to keep all those returning from coronavirus-affected countries in the quarantine facilities developed by the government for those evacuated from China last month.
He said that the government will not carry out any evacuation as it did in the case of Nepali students stranded in Wuhan, the city in China that went into lockdown to stop the virus.
Dhakal said that the government has introduced a provision requiring air passengers coming from designated countries to submit health certificates no older than one week and stay in self-quarantine before they socialize.
Those staying in self-quarantine need to observe the criteria developed by the World Health Organization. “We have already set out what to do and what not to do while staying in self-quarantine. The protocol includes things like how far a person has to stay away from family members while in self-quarantine at home,” he further said.
The minister, however, said that the government has made necessary arrangements to conduct tests for high fever and coughs and provide free of cost treatment if anyone is diagnosed positive for the coronavirus. “The state will take responsibility only if the medical test shows that the person in question needs to be kept in hospital for further treatment,” he further said.