The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has drawn the government’s attention towards immediate management and operation of holding centres, quarantine facilities, and isolation centres set up along the Nepal-India border points.

“Local levels must start operating quarantine and isolation centers. Health check-up of those returning home from India via land routes is lacking and so it cannot be confirmed if they are infected with COVID-19. Therefore, it is urgent for the government to conduct health screening and COVID-19 tests before putting them in institutional isolation or sending them home,” NHRC said in a press release.

The national rights body has also urged the government to maintain factual records of persons entering into Nepal by air and land routes.

NHRC said that it was crucial to ensure effective health desks and alertness at all borders points along India and China to combat the rapidly spreading second wave of the COVID-19.

It also expressed its serious concern about the growing number of COVID-19 patients in dedicated hospitals.

“The sudden rise in the number of patients has forced hospitals to cut down their services. Therefore, we would like to request the government to provide adequate resources to the hospitals to ensure that no one is deprived of essential health services,” read the release.

NHRC has also suggested the government to issue circulars to responsible local authorities for effective and timely delivery of health services to the citizens, while mobilising social organisations and civil society at the time of health crisis.

It also drew the government’s attention towards huge crowds that had gathered at vaccination centres to receive anti-COVID jabs. “Such crowd is likely to worsen the situation due to lack of proper physical distancing. Therefore, the government should increase the number of vaccination centres,” NHRC said.

NHRC further urged the government to take necessary precautionary measures to prevent COVID-19 infection among jailbirds and police personnel deployed in prisons.

It said that the outbreak of coronavirus among some prisoners had led to panic among other jailbirds and their family members as most jails are crammed beyond their holding capacity.

NHRC added that the government should ensure continuity and smooth delivery of regular health services for other ailments amid the pandemic.

It also warned that incidents of domestic violence could rise sharply during the period of prohibitory orders in most parts of the country.

The government drew ire from opposition parties after it announced on Friday that there were not enough beds for COVID-19 victims due to the sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 infected people.

The Ministry of Health and Population issued a press note on Friday and said that the health system was unlikely to sustain the frightening rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Nepali Congress and Bibeksheel Sajha Party have condemned the government’s statement saying that the government’s remarks not only reflected its helplessness but also its irresponsible behaviour.

“How can the government which spent an entire year in intra-party conflict, dissolved the House of Representatives, and boasted to provide vaccines to all Nepalis in three months now say there are not enough oxygen cylinders and beds for COVID-19 patients?” wondered Nepali Congress Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma in a press statement.

Stating that the government had adequate time to increase its preparedness against the pandemic, Bibeksheel Sajha Party also issued a press statement and said that the government’s irresponsible statement amid an upsurge in COVID-19 cases was a matter of serious concern.