KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has directed the subordinates for preparedness in the wake of the 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 prioritising booster doses and the establishment of holding centres at border points.
On Friday alone, the country recorded a total of 968 new cases of coronavirus — 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 also directed to increase tests at border points.
“As there is the imminent threat of transmission of omicron variant, the prevention and control of the coronavirus are 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 the 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 Health 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.
Likewise, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale demanded that PCR test facility should be managed at airports.
Chief Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi 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 the possible third waves of the coronavirus by creating a mechanism.
Finance Secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini pledged to provide enough budget to establish required holding centres, claiming that financial sources have been ensured to provide vaccines to all Nepalis.
Health Secretary Dr Roshan Pokharel sounded cautious 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 centres with the 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.