Government Terminates Agreement With Supplier Of Medical Appliances

Kathmandu, April 1: The government has cancelled the agreement with a private company contracted to supply medical appliances from China for the prevention and control of COVID-19 pandemic.

At a press conference organized here today by the Ministry of Health and Population, Director-General of the Department of Health, Mahendra Prasad Shrestha shared that the agreement with Omni Business Corporate International Pvt Ltd has been terminated for the company’s inability to supply the required medical kits. “The company has expressed its inability to deliver the medical supplies including rapid diagnostic kits in the stipulated time”, he said, claiming the agreement signed with the supplier, therefore, was nullified.

Shrestha further shared that the contractor, as per the agreement, had only supplied 10 per cent of the required kits and drugs at the expense of 18 per cent amount. He added the government would confiscate the surety amount deposited by the contractor and also request the authority concerned to blacklist the company for not being able to supply medical drugs and appliances as agreed.

The Director-General also admitted that the materials imported through the company during the time of crisis cost 20 percent more than normal price. It may be noted that the government on Sunday had signed the agreement with the Omni Group to purchase medical assistance used for testing and treating coronavirus.

Shrestha shared that a new process would be initiated for the procurement of medical appliances from coming Thursday again after scrapping the agreement with Omni Business Group. The ministry is preparing to import medical appliances within five days after soliciting a bid with a three-day deadline. “For now we have adequate stock of tools and drugs”, he said, adding, “We can provide sufficient medical equipment to the doctors and health workers involved in the treatment of patients”.

1133 lab tests for COVID-19 conducted

Meanwhile, Republica reports: A total of 1133 lab tests for novel coronavirus disease have been conducted as of Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.

At a daily press briefing of the ministry today, spokesperson Dr Bikash Devkota said that swab samples of 1133 COVID-19 suspected patients were tested. He also added that the test for the family members and relatives who were in contact with coronavirus patients is also underway. “So far, no positive case has been reported among those who were in contact with COVID-19 patients,” Dr Devkota added.

According to him, contact tracing has reached 84 percent. The task of contact tracing is being conducted by the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Department of Health Services.

“In the case of Dhangadi, samples of family members and others who had been in contact with the patient have been collected and the report is being waited,” he said.

Dr Devkota also said that contact tracing is one the major tasks in preventing the pandemic. “Therefore, we have been adopting standards set by the WHO and kept the family members and other contacted persons in quarantine for lab test and treatment,” he said adding that 99 suspected patients are kept under isolation wards in various hospitals throughout the country.

“Expansion of lab for testing COVID-19 is at a rapid pace,” he claimed. He further informed that test labs have already come into operation in two places— Pokhara and Dharan.

“14 and 4 tests were done in Dharan and Pokhara respectively, according to him. Similarly, testing will begin in Hetauda by Wednesday evening.

Informing about the call center set up by the ministry, he informed that more than 6,900 calls were received. Of them, 2,323 calls within 24 hours were also addressed, he said.

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