Thursday, 25 April, 2024

PM directs for preparedness in wake of third wave of COVID-19


Kathmandu, Jan 7: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has directed the subordinates for the preparedness in the wake of possible third wave of COVID-19.

Addressing a meeting of the COVID-19 Direction Committee held in Singha Durbar on Friday, PM Deuba asked the ministers, chief secretary and secretaries to make necessary efforts on time to prevent the new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

He stressed on prioritizing booster dose and establishment of holding centres at border points.

On Friday alone, the country recorded a total of 968 new cases of coronavirus (in both PCR and antigen tests)- nearly double the cases on Thursday. There were 540 cases of coronavirus infection on Thursday. Various states of the neighbouring country, India, have witnessed a surge in the cases of coronavirus of late.

PM Deuba directed the meeting attendants to focus prevention of the spread of coronavirus along with public awareness. He was also of increasing test at border points.

"As the spurt of omicron variant is imminent, the prevention and control of the coronavirus is imperative. Our initiatives should focus on it now," PM Deuba said at the meeting, adding, "People's lives must not be lost for lack of oxygen. In the wake of the possible threat, adequate management of oxygen and beds in hospital is essential."

On the occasion, Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand informed that efforts were underway to set up holding centres at border points soon.
Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, pointed out the need for intensifying vaccination drive along with preparedness.

Minister for Health and Population Birodh Khatiwada said that the ministry was at work to prevent and control omicron variant of coronavirus.

The variant could be controlled through past experiences, he viewed. The COVID-19 vaccination drive had been intensified and the number of people vaccinated against the virus has increased, he claimed.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Ale demanded that PCR test facility should be managed at airports.

Chief Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi has suggested that measures taken in the past and by neighbouring countries in dealing with the virus could be followed. He also stressed the need for covering all citizens by vaccines.

He viewed that local and provincial levels should be made responsible to prevent and control possible third wave of the coronvirus by creating a mechanism.

Finance Secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini pledged to provide enough budget to establish required holding centers, claiming that financial sources have been ensured to provide vaccines to all Nepalis.

Health Secretary Dr Roshan Pokharel sounded caution amidst risks being increased following the third wave of the virus. He also urged for the expansion of the scope of COVID-19 tests at borders with neighbouring countries in the wake of increasing infection. To stem the virus, work is in place to make the fifth COVID-19 Health Sector Rapid Action Plan, he said.

To this effect, nine holding centers with capacity to accommodate 1,000 people each are under construction, said Major Rajib Mohan Jha.

However, the construction has got a delay due to lack of budget. Although Rs 2.2 billion was allocated for the project, only Rs 1 billion has been released, he said.