What led to the COVID-19 spread at the Supreme Court?

Published On: October 18, 2020 10:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 18: Most government offices, banks and other institutions have become the COVID-19 hotspots in recent times. The Supreme Court is no exception.

Justices, employees and others in the apex court have already contracted the virus. So far, four lawyers under 50 have succumbed to this deadly disease.

How did this happen? Why could not the justice delivery institutions ensure safety of employees? 

Despite the high risk of COVID-19 infections, justices, lawyers and employees are compelled to visit the SC daily where health safety guidelines are often neglected.

“Study on how COVID-19 spread in SC has not been carried out yet but multiple factors may be responsible,” suggested Chandeshwori Shrestha, Chairman of Nepal Bar Association.

First, the documents used in courtrooms go round the detention centers, police offices and canteens. Detention centers and police offices are among the worst hit governmental sectors by COVID-19. 

Besides, neglecting, even not complying with, the health safety protocols during the investigation of cases by investigative units has added to the possibility of faster infection at the SC.

The use of common vehicles by the employees and congested working rooms in the SC is another contributing factor.

Third, the documents and other stuff brought to the courtroom from prisons and police offices are most likely to spread COVID-19 in the courtroom. 

According to the World Health Organization, the virus can remain active for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, up to four hours on copper, and up to 24 hours on cardboard.

The SC has already postponed most hearings and writs before Dashain and Tihar vacations due to COVID-19 infections in most of its employees.


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