The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said that its serious attention was drawn to the fact that the new variants of Covid-19 was spreading rapidly in Nepal, putting children at a greater risk of infection.

NHRC recently conducted on-site monitoring of various schools in the Kathmandu Valley regarding compliance with the required health safety protocols and the risk of Covid-19 infection in children.

During the monitoring, teachers had said that it was not possible to follow health safety protocols in government schools as compared to private schools due to the large number of students.

In the last two weeks, NHRC has received information from various sources that more than 300 children have been infected with Covid-19, the Commission said in a press statement issued on Sunday.

The Ministry of Health and Population has suggested immediate closure of services in overcrowded areas of 14 districts, including the Kathmandu Valley, which are at high risk.

NHRC also reminded the government that Article 39 of the Constitution of Nepal ensures children’s rights and Article 24 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, states that the interests of children’s health should be taken into highest consideration.

“Therefore, the government should be aware of the children’s right to health, make alternative arrangements for education, ensure the right to education while taking care of the right to life of children, do not disseminate conflicting information from the Ministry of Health and Population and the Ministry of Education that creates psychological panic among parents and students,” NHRC said in its statement.

“The Commission urges the Government of Nepal and parties concerned to follow the opinion, advice, request or information of the Ministry of Health regarding health issues and to take sensitive issues like health seriously.”