KATHMANDU, April 13: Even as the stakeholders concerned have suggested the government not to take any decision to suspend physical classes, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has reiterated its stance that suspending physical classes in schools and colleges is the only way to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The MoHP on Tuesday recommended the government to close the schools and colleges in the Kathmandu Valley and other major cities in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Deputy Spokesperson at the MoHP Dr Sameer Adhikari said the Health Ministry and the COVID-19 Crisis Management Committee have recommended the government to stop physical classes in the valley and other major cities. “We have recommended virtual classes instead,” he added.
The cabinet is yet to take any decision to this effect.
According to the latest data from the MoHP, the COVID-19 infection rate among youths below 21 years has doubled this year unlike in the previous year.
Earlier, the Ministry of Education had held consultation with all concerned stakeholders whether to suspend physical classes after the MoHP recommended stopping physical classes. However, umbrella organizations of private and boarding schools and higher secondary schools as well as Guardian Association of Nepal had suggested the government not to take any immediate decision to suspend physical classes.
Talking to a group of journalists at his office on Tuesday, Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi said the COVID-19 infection has been traced among youths and young children this year unlike in the previous years. Since there are no vaccines developed to administer among children below 18 years, there is no option to suspend physical classes in schools and colleges in major cities including Kathmandu for the time being.
Minister Tripathi said that suspending physical classes in schools and colleges for a month means nearly 800,000 children will stay at home in Kathmandu Valley alone. This will greatly help to break the chain of COVID-19 infection, he argued.