Republica Morning Brief: Oct 7

Published On: October 7, 2020 06:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The Tatopani-Khasa border point has again shut down in less than a day after it became operational. The major trade route to the northern neighbor China was closed unilaterally by the Chinese side after a Nepali laborer tested positive for the coronavirus. No goods were imported through the transit point to Nepal on Tuesday. The transit point had resumed its operation on Monday nearly three months after the disruptions at various sections of the roadway to the point due to landslides. The two sides had reached an agreement to resume the checkpoint on the condition of avoiding the spread of COVID-19.

The Province 5 Assembly endorsed the proposal to name Province 5 as Lumbini and make Deukhuri its capital with a two-thirds majority in the assembly on Tuesday afternoon. During a provincial assembly vote held after deliberations on the proposal, a total of 69 votes were cast in favor of the proposal while 13 provincial assembly members voted against the proposal. Likewise, four provincial assembly members abstained from voting. There are a total of 87 members in Province 5 Assembly. Five Provincial Assembly members of the main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), cast their votes in favor of the government’s decision to name the province as Lumbini and establish its permanent capital in Dang, defying the whip issued by the party. The main opposition party Nepali Congress had issued a whip to its lawmakers to vote against the government proposal earlier on Tuesday.

Expressing serious concern over the ongoing fast-unto-death by Dr Govinda KC, a group of 16 civil society members on Tuesday urged the government to immediately address his demands. Issuing a joint statement, Dr Pitambar Sharma, Dr Kailashnath Pyakurel, Dr Aruna Uprety, Narayan Dhakal, Bimal Nibha, Dr Suresh Dhakal, Dr Saroj Dhital, Sarita Tiwari, Dhankumari Sunar, Komal Bhattarai, Sudip Shrestha, Somat Ghimire, Prakash Rai and Hari Roka expressed solidarity with Dr KC. They also called for saving the life of Dr KC.

A government team on Tuesday visited Dr Govinda KC on Tuesday, the 23rd day of his 19th fast-unto-death seeking reforms in Nepal’s medical education sector. The team led by secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Gopinath Mainali, met Dr KC at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) and got informed about the demands raised by the agitating senior orthopedic surgeon who started his 19th hunger strike from Jumla earlier on Sept 14. He was later brought to Kathmandu on September 22. The government team also urged Dr KC to break his hunger strike given the worsening situation of the global pandemic of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). “He [Dr KC] proposed holding talks by forming a negotiation committee,” said Secretary Mainali. Mainali also said that he will convey Dr KC’s message to the government.


Nepal’s coronavirus case tally has neared 90,000 after the confirmation of 2,440 new cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health and Population said on Monday. While providing the country’s national updates on the COVID-19 situation through a virtual media briefing, Jageshwar Gautam, spokesperson for the health ministry, said that a total of 89,263 cases of the coronavirus have been reported from various parts of the country as of today. According to Gautam, 1,133 additional COVID-19 patients were discharged after recovery in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s coronavirus recovery tally to 65,202. At least 13,781 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were conducted at various laboratories across the country on Tuesday.

Of the 1,551 new COVID-19 cases recorded across the country on Tuesday, 1,017 were detected in the Kathmandu Valley. With these new cases, the Valley’s COVID-19 case tally has reached 31,865. Likewise, five people succumbed to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours in the Kathmandu Valley. So far, 170 people have died of COVID-19 in the Valley. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), 783 new cases in Kathmandu, 116 in Bhaktapur and 118 in Lalitpur were recorded in the past 24 hours. The COVID-19 death rate in the Valley is 0.53 percent while the death rate is 0.62.

Nine more fatalities linked to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were recorded across Nepal on Tuesday, taking the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 563. According to the data maintained by the Ministry of Health and Population, of the deceased, five are males and four are females. Two males each (aged 31 and 64) from Tehrathum and Sunsari died of the coronavirus disease. Kathmandu district recorded two deaths (aged 59 and 60) linked to the coronavirus while Lalitpur saw three deaths (aged 67, 61 and 77) related to the virus. Likewise, a 77-year-old male from Chitwan and a 77-year-old female from Nawalparasi also died of the coronavirus on Tuesday. With this latest figure, the number of people dying of COVID-19 has risen to 563, the ministry stated.

Comedian Hari Bansa Acharya and his wife have tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Acharya on his facebook page shared that he and his wife had undergone Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests on Monday and the results turned out to be positive. “Our health is normal as of now,” he wrote. Acharya also urged all those who came into his contact in the past few days to take necessary precaution.

The government has started holding consultation with the concerned stakeholders on the proposal sent by the Indian government in a bid to expedite the works of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the proposed Kathmandu-Raxaul railway. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has forwarded a draft proposal sent by the Indian government to various stakeholders for their consent, according to officials at the Department of Railways. Earlier last month, the Indian government sent the proposal to the MoFA seeking permission of Nepali authorities to conduct a detailed study of the Kathmandu-Raxaul rail link. India has proposed Konkan Railway Corporation, a union government company headquartered in Navi Mumbai, to prepare the DPR of the project. Officials said the Indian government has assured Nepali authorities to fully follow health and safety protocols while carrying out the study. Nepal, however, has delayed responding to the proposal citing the COVID-19 pandemic and health risks associated with it.

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