Vultures don’t sing, don’t look at flowers, just look at the dinners: Minister Gyawali {Interview}

Kathmandu, March 30: The entire world is presently battling to contain the spread of coronavirus, termed as COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation.

The virus which first emerged from Wuhan of Hubei province in China has already taken a pandemic turn. Bearing in mind the global health threat posed by it, several countries have gone into lockdown, as a precautionary measure against the deadly virus. In this connection, the Government of Nepal also announced a weeklong national lockdown beginning from March 24, which was extended Sunday to last till April 7.

The extension was as per the Cabinet meeting decision acting on the recommendation of the High-level Task Force on Coronavirus Infection Prevention, Control and Treatment headed by Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel.

During the first lockdown, the government was successful in bringing medical equipment from the northern neighbor. As the government said it is also regularly taking health updates of Nepali residing across the world and trying its best to fulfill its responsibility towards the citizen.

This pandemic is likely to bring a shift in the world power dynamics as it has its enormous impact on the world scenario including political, economic and social sectors. Though rate of infection is relatively low, Nepal is also likely to face numerous political, economic, technical and other challenges ahead to fight and win against the Coronavirus.

Amid these challenges, in an interview with a team from the Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) comprising Executive Chair Shyamal Adhikari, Chief Editor Shyam Rimal and correspondent Prakash Silwal at his office on Friday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said,” Almost all the countries across the globe are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic and the Nepali community abroad have also been affected by it.

The government is taking their updates through videoconferences with the help of its diplomatic missions and embassies in the respective countries, through personal telephone contacts and other available means of communication.” As he said, the report is that migrant Nepali workers have so far faced no significant problem due to the pandemic.

Lately, three Nepalis in Bahrain and four in the United Arab of Emirates were confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus and are presently under medical treatment while two have been already recovered following treatment.

”We have been assured by these countries that Nepali community would be given treatment on par with their citizens. Moreover, we have been assured that those Nepali getting their labour contract expired or students having their VISA term over will be facing no legal issues during this crisis period,” he said.

Besides, the government has ensured provisions for sending minimum expenditure to those students possessing ‘no-objection’ letter from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and those who are in need of doing part time jobs for their families, according to the Minister.

He went on to say that the government was aware of the possibility that many Nepali could lose jobs and be pushed into economic and other crisis and it might have to go for rescue efforts if the COVID-19 crisis went long. ”We are minutely analysing the probability and likelihood of multi-dimensional impact on the economy.

But again we are committed to taking appropriate measures to deal with the situation that we may face in the future on the right time. The government will leave no stone unturned to fulfill its responsibilities towards it citizens.”

Responding to queries on the government’s acknowledgment about COVID-19 hit Nepalis across the world, especially about four Nepalis reported to have contracted COVID-19 in Australia’s Granville at Sidney, Minister Gyawali said that the government has been regularly receiving information about Nepalis abroad including Australia and the USA.

An American with roots in Nepal is learnt to have died due to COVID-19 while four others have been reported dead in the UK. Nepalis in Germany and Portugal are also learnt to have been infected with the deadly virus. The government, according to Gyawali, was coordinating with the government of these countries and monitoring the situation.

As the education consultancies have been requesting with the government of Nepal either to return Nepalis students in Australia or arrange appropriate facilities for them there, the Minister said that there was no plan as of now to return the Nepalis students studying in various countries. It is not safe to consider about travelling at this time from the security viewpoint.

The Minister further said, “As we have seen that among the five tested positive for COVID-19 so far in Nepal, all of them were foreign returnees. Hence, the right move for now is to be where we are and stay alert and safe.” According to him, the Government of Nepal has requested with the governments of those co

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