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Coronavirus Outbreak Should Not be Used to Target Government, Says Nepal PM Oli

File photo of Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

File photo of Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

The prime minister's comments come amid the rising number of fresh virus cases in the Himalayan nation.

Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli on Tuesday said the coronavirus outbreak should not be used to target his government, even as the main Opposition party called for a probe into the alleged irregularities in the procurement of medical kits and protective gear.

The prime minister's comments come amid the rising number of fresh virus cases in the Himalayan nation. With 59 new cases in the last 24 hours, Nepal's COVID-19 tally now stands at 21,009 with 58 deaths. In a meeting with health experts and politicians at the prime minister's official residence in Baluwatar, Oli said the government's efforts need to be backed up by wide spread public awareness.

"This coronavirus pandemic is a big challenge for all of us, so don't make it an opportunity to criticise the government," the prime minister said, adding that discipline in following government advice was a prerequisite in tackling the virus. The prime minister had called for the meeting to take suggestions from experts on ways to tackle the pandemic.

Leader of the main Opposition Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba told the gathering that an investigation was needed to look into the allegations of corruption in the procurement of medical kits and protective gear. The government should stop protecting the people involved in corruption, the four-time former prime minister said.

Secretary of Council of Ministers Mahendra Guragain said the government had established laboratories across the country, gaining the capacity to conduct 18,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests per day. So far, over 400,000 tests have been conducted in Nepal. Of the 7,687 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, 259 patients were found to be COVID-19 positive, spokesperson of Ministry of Health and Population Jageshwar Gautam said in a daily briefing.

Of the new cases, 62 patients were from Kathmandu valley. On Sunday, the valley reported 31 coronavirus positive cases and on Monday 51 new cases were detected. Presently, 5,925 patients are undergoing treatment at different health facilities. The number of recovered people rose to 15,026 after 65 people were declared virus-free in the last 24 hours, Gautam said.

Nepal's COVID-19 death toll rose to 58 on Monday after a 77-year-old man was reported dead due to the virus. The deceased was a diabetic.


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