Covid Crisis Management Centre to take over High-level Coordination CommitteeThe centre has almost all members of the committee, making the latter redundant.
Tika R Pradhan
The government has decided to leave the High-level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of Covid-19 dormant and allow the Corona Crisis Management Centre to take over its responsibilities.
“A recent Cabinet meeting decided to put the high-level coordination committee on hold as many committees won’t be necessary,” said Ghanashyam Bhusal, the agriculture minister. The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday also decided to induct three ministers to the CCMC.
According to ministers familiar with developments, with most members of the Centre also on the High-level Coordination Committee, two similar committees will not be necessary. Therefore, the centre will now take over the mandate of the high-level committee. Both the structures are led by Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel.
Minister Bhusal, however, said there was no discussion on dissolving the coordination committee.
After criticism from different quarters of the ineffectiveness of the high-level committee, the government had decided to form another structure led by Pokhrel himself. The Corona Crisis Management Centre involves Chief of the Army Staff and some ministers for proper implementation of policies and coordination.
The Centre includes Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Hridayesh Tripathi; Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Lekhraj Bhatta; Health Minister Bhanubhakta Dhakal and Chief Secretary Lokdarshan Regmi as members besides Army Chief Purna Chandra Thapa.
With Wednesday’s cabinet meeting deciding to include three more ministers— Agriculture Minister Bhusal, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai and Energy Minister Barshaman Pun, the Centre now has nine members.
Bhusal and Bhattarai were members of the High-level Coordination Committee alongside Home Minister Thapa, Khatiwada, Bhatta, Dhakal, Regmi, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and Education Minister Girirajmani Pokhrel. The 11-member committee formed as per the Cabinet decision of March 1 has Secretary at the Prime minister’s Office Narayan Prasad Bidari as member secretary.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.