The government disseminated additional authority of Chief District Officers (CDOs) in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection in Nepal.

According to Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Parbat Gurung, CDOs will now have the authority to regulate, manage, and control inter-district vehicular movement in districts that have more than 200 active cases of COVID-19 and suspend any works or services in throughout respective districts or in parts of the districts that have more than 500 active COVID-19 cases.

Though CDOs have been using these authorities since the past few months, the government has decided to amend its previous order and publish new provisions in Nepal Gazette to formalize their powers.

Keeping in mind the misuse of travel passes in the past, the Cabinet meeting has also made it mandatory for CDOs issuing inter-district travel pass to coordinate with the CDOs of other concerned districts.

Meanwhile, CDOs are also not allowed to issue a travel pass that involves crossing the district that has enforced prohibitory order without receiving prior written consent of the destination CDOs.

The government has also decided to develop existing quarantine facilities as isolation centers, since the number of COVID-19 cases in Kathmandu Valley and various other districts in the country is increasing in a rapid manner.

The number of people in need of intensive care and ventilator has been rising drastically in the last few weeks in the valley and there has been acute shortage of beds for treatment of seriously ill patients.

The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) in coordination with Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) will develop the quarantine facilities that are not in use or those with necessary infrastructures as isolation centers within the next 15 days.

The Cabinet meeting also decided to transform isolation centers in the districts that have witnessed a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases as COVID-19 hospitals.

The meeting also decided to arrange a minimum of 200 high dependency units (HDUs) in each province and 2,000 in Kathmandu Valley within the next 15 days.

According to Gurung, the Cabinet meeting had also decided to make necessary arrangements to operate the electric crematorium in Pashupatinath Temple premises 24 hours a day.

The meeting also directed the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to seek necessary funds from the Ministry of Finance and develop a hybrid crematorium.