Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa. (File photo/Khabarhub)
KATHMANDU: Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa hinted at the possible extension of the lockdown period by one more week.
“Discussions are underway to extend the lockdown period. Probably, a decision will be taken in this regard tomorrow,” he said in a special interview with Rastriya Samachar Samiti.
The lockdown extension is in view of detection of an increasing number of coronavirus cases in Nepal and India imposing 21-day lockdown, he said.
Initially, the government imposed a lockdown on March 24 over coronavirus emergency before extending it on March 31 until April 7.
A Cabinet meeting has also been called today to discuss the latest updates about the situation caused by the infection. A Cabinet meeting on April 4 decided to tighten lockdown by controlling mobility from one state, district and local level to another. The meeting also decided that mass testing of swabs of the suspected people would take place.
A meeting of the High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 formed under the convenorship of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Iswar Pokharel on Sunday held a discussion for extension of lockdown period.
Sudurpaschim State government has also urged the federal government to extend lockdown following increasing risks of the infection. The government has directed states, local levels and all state bodies across the country to strictly implement lockdown.
So far, nine people have been infected with the virus in the country, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.
Meanwhile, Minister Thapa said that the government was highly alert and aware of preventing any problems emanating from the lockdown such as black marketeering and other illegal activities for which, he said, the government has effectively mobilized the security agencies.
To ensure a smooth supply of the essential services and supplies, the Minister said, necessary coordination was made and instructions were issued. According to the Minister, the Hospital run by Armed Police Force in Balambu in Kathmandu was developed as a dedicated hospital for the treatment of the COVID-19 patients and all necessary medical supplies and resources have been put in place for the Hospital.
Stating that the security personnel would work in the frontline for the safety and security of the people during this pandemic, Minister Thapa shared that additional security forces have been mobilized in the bordering points with India to prevent untoward movement during the lockdown.
Thapa assured that the Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department of Nepal have also been mobilized as per the need. He urged the general public not to violate lockdown orders since security forces were working in tandem to ensure a smooth supply of food items and other essentials during the period.
“It’s important that we the citizens should be responsible for the health of ourselves and our families. I urge one and all to seek support from the nearest security personnel in case of contingency,” the Minister said.
The Minister said that the peace and order were maintained throughout the country during the lockdown.