Amid a steady rise in the number of Kovid-19 cases, the Nepalese government has not decided to cover the cost of all those infected with the virus and to bury those who die while living in isolation.
The decision, taken earlier this week by the KP Sharma Oli-led administration, was made public by the Ministry of Health and Population on Sunday through a daily COVD-19 briefing.
A spokesperson of the Cabinet announced that during the meeting of the Cabinet it was decided that the list of persons who meet certain criteria would be facilitated by the government.
“Economically disadvantaged, able-bodied and vulnerable, lonely, destitute, senior citizens, front-line health workers, disinfectants, security personnel and civil servants working in high-risk zones. Will be examined and treated free of charge. If the above persons have an insurance policy from a company, the expenses will be reimbursed from their insurance policy which will cover the costs of tests and treatment. Dr. Jageshwar Gautam, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population, said in a regular press briefing on Sunday that other people who do not meet the criteria need tests and expenses for treatment on their own.
The latest ruling has been in effect since Sunday for all government and non-government hospitals and laboratories. The new ruling deprives more than 25 percent of the population (ADB, 2010 figures) of proper tests for COIVD-19 infection.
A large number of people, especially those who depend on daily wages, will be adversely affected as an authentic Covid-19 test is available in private labs for NPR. Costs 2000.
Government hospitals and labs are offering tests almost free of charge because they used to get compensation from the government based on tests done earlier.
In addition, the government has refrained from criminalizing the corpses of people battling the deadly virus.
The government has forced family members to bury the body of a relative if he dies while being separated from the home, amending the “Mortuary Management of Covid-19 Case Guidance”. Under the new rules, family members are required to notify the local administration and the body needs to be cremated in the event of the death of an infected person in the home alone and at a physical distance. However, the guideline prohibits people and children over the age of 60 from participating in the procession.
The new rules also state that family members will be required to provide a vehicle to transport the body, while those approaching the body will be required to wear gloves, surgical masks, boots, spectacles and a full sleeve dress. .
The Kathmandu Valley, which hosts about half of the real-time active cases, has the highest number of infected patients in hospital alone with hospital beds and other infrastructure.