The government has decided to provide free testing and treatment to COVID-19 patients. Monday’s Cabinet meeting took the decision and instructed the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) to make preparations in this regard.
Free test and treatment services for COVID patients will be available only at government laboratories and healthcare facilities.
The Supreme Court on November 5 had refused to entertain the review petition filed by the Ministry of Health and Population seeking to challenge its earlier verdict that had ordered the government to provide free test and treatment to COVID-19 patients.
It has been reported that MoHP will prepare a detailed blueprint for free testing and treatment before formally informing the public about the decision.
The Cabinet also formed a three-member committee comprising the secretaries of finance, health and foreign affairs ministries to ensure timely supply COVID-19 vaccines when they’re available.
The committee is tasked with studying the ongoing development of various COVID-19 vaccines across the globe and preparing the process to timely bring the vaccines to Nepal.
The Cabinet also decided to deposit half of the total salary of ministers in the Corona Infection Prevention, Control and Treatment Fund. Ministers’ salaries, half of the total amount, till mid-April will be deposited in fund.
Earlier, President Bidya Devi Bhandari and some ministers had deposited their one-month salary in the fund. All Members of Parliament had also deposited their 15-day allowance and festival allowance in the fund.
The National Planning Commission has stated that the amount deposited in the fund is released to the local and state governments for their response to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Similarly, the Cabinet also decided to revoke its earlier decision to impose a 10 percent customs tax on the import of all kinds of books.
Then Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada had introduced the provision to impose a 10 percent tax on books imported from India and other countries in the budget of fiscal year 2019/20.
Although the Nepali printing industry had welcomed the decision, students, publishers, and booksellers had criticized it as an attempt to restrict learning.