Eighty-nine members of the civil society have expressed their disappointment over the government’s lack of proactive approach to controlling the Covid-19 pandemic. They have chastised the government for supposedly washing its hands of the responsibility to take care of the health and wellbeing of its citizens. The full text of the appeal is given below:
The second wave of coronavirus along with its various variants has hit Nepal resulting in a sharp spike in the numbers of the infected as well as deaths. The daily increase in the infected indicate that we will require oxygen and ICU facilities in greater numbers in the immediate future. In this context, the latest statement from the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) citing “inability to provide hospital beds” has angered as well as worried the general public.
In this regard, on behalf of the general public, we would like to draw the attention of the Nepal government and the respective authorities to the following:
We express grave disappointment at the lack of government’s proactive action to control and manage the COVID situation during easier times and the defaulting into lockdown as the last resort.
The government’s statement- “treatment will be scarce with the rise in infection”—is in direct opposition to its constitutional responsibility of ensuring the health of its citizenry through the use of all available means. Such stance from the government has saddened and frightened the citizens.
We demand that protocols such as the mandatory use of masks and maintenance of physical distancing to control the spread of COVID-19 be strictly enforced. Furthermore, ordinary citizens who do not adhere to the rules need to be made aware of the importance of following these protocols and those in high and responsible positions of the state who flout such protocols need to be fined.
Provisions need to be made to utilize the health equipment and human resources available in the private and community hospitals for the services to those affected by the virus.
The increase in the infection rates have spiked up the use of ICU facilities. We demand for additional management of the ICU facilities across the country.
We request the government to seek help from friendly countries and donor agencies for the immediate arrangement of essential health equipment and materials.
We ask the government to initiate collaborative efforts to mobilize and encourage the citizenry, organizations, businesses and volunteer organizations in controlling the pandemic.
We request the local governments to replicate their earlier efforts and proactively conduct activities to diminish the rate of infection. Similarly, we also ask the utilization of local health institutions and the support for those that are negatively impacted by the lockdown.
We demand the identification and punishing of those who are taking advantage of the crisis to create black markets on health, food and other essential items.
In this hour or crisis, we call on the National Assembly, the Federal and Provincial House of Representatives, local assemblies and all elected representatives to raise the concerns of the public, demand for proactive government and make the government accountable to its citizens.
We demand that provisions for PCR tests and at least a week long quarantine facility be made for those arriving at the various border points.
We demand for relief programs and budget management for the laborers, the poor, marginalized communities and affected businesses that are severely impacted by the lockdown.
We ask that quarantine facilities and isolation centers be made disabled and gender friendly and that infected women, pregnant women, single women, children, persons with disabilities, chronic patients, senior citizens, sexual minorities (LGBTQIA) be prioritized in treatment.
We demand that all of the expenditures made for COVID prevention and control by all three tiers of the government be made publicly available and transparent.
We call upon all citizens to be patient during these difficult times and stay home. Furthermore, we ask to follow all of the precautionary protocols while out in public.