Lockdown Will Continue For Greater Good Of People: PM

Modnath Dhakal

Kathmandu, Apr 19: Prime Minster KP Sharma Oli has said that the country would continue the lockdown as the primary measure against the COVID-19 pandemic while adopting tighter measures at the borders and social distancing.
“This is not the interest of the government; it is the question of the safety of people. It would be better to continue lockdown than to allow the deadly virus to infect more people and claim their lives,” he said in an interview with the state media on Friday at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence, Baluwatar.
He said that as it was difficult to maintain social distancing automatically on the part of the people, the government had to enforce the restrictions on the movement and everyday activities outside homes.
According to PM Oli, the government with the help from various stakeholders had achieved success in containing the spread of the COVID-19 so far and was working not to let the situation deteriorate further since it would be disastrous if the virus spread rapidly.
“Many advanced countries are fighting fiercely to control the virus and provide beds to the patients in hospitals. They are running short of ventilators and patients are being treated under makeshift tents,” he said. “If the same happened here, we would be more helpless due to limited human resource, infrastructure and health facilities.”
“That is the reason we must maintain the measures like lockdown, social distancing, health awareness and border closure,” he said.
He said that more than 4,000 people are dying in a day so this is a potential disaster not only for a country but the whole of humanity.
PM Oli also said that he respected the voice that the economy should be brought into life in every possible way, but maintained that economy was secondary to safety and life of the people.
“The government is not on the side of politicising the issue; profit and loss in the economy is the secondary matter. We don’t want to risk the life of people at the cost of economy. Saving life is and will be the top priority,” said Oli.
According to him, the pandemic is like an inferno as even a single case can trigger a disaster like a single matchstick does in the forest.
The Prime Minister urged one and all Nepalis to stay where they are with utmost caution against the pandemic. “The government has talked to most of the governments of the countries where Nepali citizens are in large number and requested them for the safety and wellbeing of our citizens.”
The PM himself talked with the Prime Minister of India and Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates regarding the safety of Nepali nationals while there were also communications with Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
“As we cannot bring in our citizens to the country, the government is talking with the respective governments. They have assured us of equal treatment to Nepali citizens as their own. All of us must understand that this is a common fight against the crisis,” said PM Oli.
Talking about the alleged corruption in the procurement of the health materials needed for the coronavirus diagnosis and treatment, he said that it was not a case looked after by the Prime Minister’s Office but a concerned department under the Health Ministry.
Since normal procurement process does not work during the time of crisis the government might need to bring in the materials via government-to-government or business-to-business contract in a fast track channel; it is the authority of the Director General of the Department of the Health Services, said PM Oli.
“The PM neither deals with procurements nor wants to earn money. However, the government officials should use their authority in a proper way,” he maintained. However, he said that there was a small section of people who had always been making statements against the government. “Some of them actually want the government to fail even at the cost of the life of people.”
According to him, the government had sent the health materials to all 77 districts by Friday and test had started across the country while some of the hospitals were upgraded for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. “When this crisis is over, we will have visible reform in terms of health infrastructure and facilities,” he said.

– The Rising Nepal

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