Kantipur Media Group halts fundraising drive after government decision to channel all funds through the stateFollowing the government's decision, all donations are being returned to their contributors, said the media group management.
Kantipur Media Group on Tuesday said it has been forced to halt its Kantipur Covid-19 Prevention Fund, a campaign to raise funds to assist in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Kantipur Media Group’s decision to this effect follows a government decision to channel all funds through the state's own mechanism.
A meeting of the high-level coordination committee for the prevention and control of Covid-19, led by Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel, on Tuesday decided to prohibit any private entity from establishing a similar fund, saying “the government itself has set up such a fund”.
The government has set up a Rs 500 million fund to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kantipur Media Group last week set up the Kantipur Cover-19 Prevention Fund with a seed amount of Rs1.5 million, with five commercial banks as partners, each matching KMG's contribution. Kumari Bank, Siddhartha Bank, Nepal Investment Bank, Nabil Bank and Global IME Bank were the partner institutions in KMG’s initiative and had contributed Rs1.5 each.
KMG had started its initiative against the pandemic after consultation with Pokhrel and with his consent. Pokhrel heads the government’s high-level coordination committee.
“We have in the past also come to assist whenever the country was in crisis. We are disappointed that we are unable to help this time around when the state is in difficulty,” said the KMG management. “Since the government has put a halt to the initiative, we will return all the money to the contributors—institutions and individuals. We hope all those generous institutions and individuals will contribute to the government fund to help the state in a time of crisis.”
After the earthquake in 2015, Kantipur Media Group had raised Rs 44.3 million and handed it over to then prime minister Sushil Koirala.
Kantipur Media Group in the past has also raised funds and helped the state whenever there were natural disasters, like floods and landslides.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of March 31, 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. As of Wednesday, Covid-19 had spread to 199 countries and infected more than 8,07,705 people with 39,456 deaths. In South Asia, Pakistan has reported the highest number of infections at 1,865 with 25 deaths. While India has reported 1,251 confirmed cases with 32 deaths. Nepal has so far reported five cases, in which one patient recovered.
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.