Coronavirus not yet seen in Nepal, government preparing for high alertness

Kathmandu / Feb 4: Minister for Health and Population Bhanubhakta Dhakal has said the coronavirus has not been yet seen in the country and the government is working for high alertness to prevent the possible risk of infection.

Taking special time in a session of the House of Representatives today, the Minister said though 13 students returned from China were suspected of being infected by the virus, their lab test reports were negative.

“Two Cabinet meetings had been already held to discuss about the possible threat by the coronavirus and preventive measures against it as the government is much serious to prevent it from entering the country while a high-level taskforce coordinated by the Health Minister has been formed to deal with the issue,” the Minister said.

Publicity materials giving information about ways to remain alert to the virus have been produced and preparations are on for a media briefing every day in the evening, according to him. The coronavirus which first originated from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province of China on December 31, 2019 has so far spread to 22 provinces within China and other 23 countries in the world.

According to the World Health Organization, to date, 17,351 people have been infected by it and 17,000 of those infected are Chinese nationals. The virus has so far killed 362 Chinese: 361 in China and one Chinese in the Philippines. People have been advised for keeping a distance with people suffering from flu, washing hands with soap and water and maintaining personal hygiene to prevent the infection. The coronavirus remains active during winter and passive in summer.

“We are preparing to stay safe from the virus,” the Minister said. The Monday’s meeting of the Council of Ministers held serious discussions about the matter. This is different from health issues. The infected showed no serious symptoms, the infection period is from two to 14 days.

The infected could go unrecognized in the community, that’s why high alertness is required. The government is preparing to bring Nepalis in Chins who wish to return home. As he said, those not tested positive would be brought back to home without any delay. If tested positive, one will not be send by the Chinese government.

The Nepali Embassy in China has received applications from 180 Nepali requesting for sending them home. After they are brought here, they will remain in a 14-day observation period. The government has ensured the lab test of the virus in three hospitals and 43 beds for the infected Coronavirus health desks have been set up in Pokhara, Chitwan and Bhairahawa.

Rasuwa and Tatopani points have been identified as the possible risky zones. A separate health facility will be built in the future to tackle with this type of health risks. In the meeting 14 lawmakers including Dibyamani Rajbhandari, Mohammed Istiyak Rai, Dilendra Prasad Badu, Pushpa Bhusal, Devendra Raj Kandel, Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel and Dila Sangraula sought the immediate implementation of the anti-corona virus programmes, demanding the government make arrangements for bringing those Nepalis in China wishing to return home as soon as possible.

In response, the Minister said preparations for the same are underway. A health desk has been set up at airport for the health checkup of returnee(s) from China with the arrangements for a 24-hour medical service. Ambulance service is on a stand-by to transport the suspected to the hospital. The health desk is for all landing at airport from any country in the world. RSS

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