The government has asked senior orthopedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC to quit his relay hunger strike. Today marks the 19th day of Dr KC’s 19th fast-unto-death strike demanding reforms in medical education sector.

His demands include establishment of a government-run medical college each in all seven provinces across the country, and eliminating medical mafia, among other things.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for Nepal Government, Pradip Gyawali, said that fast-unto-death strike and satyagraha were not appropriate issues at a time when government was busy thinking about how to protect citizens from coronavirus.

“At a time when doctors, health workers and security personnel are trying to protect the public from COVID-19, are hunger strikes, satyagraha and other strikes suitable topics? Certainly not!” said Minister Gyawali.

He added that Dr KC’s hunger strike was meaningless as most of his earlier demands have already been met while the remaining issues could be discussed later.

“If there is any other issues, they can be discussed later. I have a request for Dr KC and his friends on behalf of the Government of Nepal – quit the hunger strike for now and join the battle against COVID-19. Let’s protect the people from the epidemic, we can continue to discuss the remaining issues in future,” said Minister Gyawali.

Gyawali added that the process to meet Dr KC’s demand for setting up medical colleges in all the provinces was underway and the scope of PCR tests, the agitating doctor’s another demand, had also been increased.

It is important to note that the number of PCR tests carried out by the government has not been increased and has remained more or less stagnant for the past few months. However, Minister Gyawali claimed that as the government was doing its best, there is no need to put more pressure in this regard.