6 MIN READ
This article was originally published in South Asia Check – an independent, non-partisan, non-profit initiative by Panos South Asia, aiming to promote accuracy and accountability in public debate
Speaking on Janata Janna Chahanchhan talk show on Prime Times Television on August 29, Prime Minister KP Oli defended his government’s COVID-19 response and highlighted his government’s achievements in the last two and a half years. The one-hour 46-minute interview has been viewed more than 350,000 times until September 2, and is trending at number 6 in Nepal on YouTube in Nepal.
Among several claims made by Prime Minister Oli, South Asia Check has examined three.
“Currently, we are conducting 23,000 to 24,000 PCR [polymerase chain reaction] tests daily. This is not a small matter.”
At a daily press briefing a month ago, spokesman at the Ministry of Health and Population Dr Jageshwar Gautam said the government was working to enhance its capacity to conduct more than 18,000 PCR tests daily.
As per the latest data, over 13,000 PCR tests were carried out on August 26, the highest single day tests so far. About a month ago, on July 31, the government had recorded highest PCR tests (10768) till then. That record on PCR tests was broken on August 16 when a total of 12,247 tests were conducted.
Source: Ministry of Health and Population
Therefore, Oli’s claim about PCR tests is exaggerated.
“The government provides all necessary treatment to COVID-19 patients without distinguishing between rich and poor. The government bears the entire treatment costs. Isn’t this extraordinary? None of our neighboring countries have done this. They don’t have this kind of arrangement.”
Several Indian states have provided free medical treatment for COVID-19 patients. Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has announced that designated hospitals will treat COVID-19 patients, especially those living below the poverty line, for free and the government will pay the medical bill, according to a report in the Hindustan Times. Government hospitals in some states provide free medical treatment. In some Indian states, people’s medical insurance covers the treatment for COVID-19. Several Indian state governments have fixed prices for COVID-19 treatment.
Nepal’s northern neighbor China has said in a white paper that COVID-19 patients (confirmed or suspected) including those who have received subsidies from state finance for any medical bills not covered by basic medical insurance, serious disease insurance, or medical assistance fund are provided free treatment, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
On the basis of these news reports, Prime Minister Oli’s claim that Nepal’s neighbors don’t provide free COVID-19 treatment is false.
“We have built 700,000 houses and handed them over (to the beneficiaries) over the last two and a half years.”
Oli mentioned these figures while claiming that his government had made significant progress in post-earthquake reconstruction. But according to the National Reconstruction Authority, the number of houses completed so far is 576,623 and more than 700,000 houses are under construction.
Therefore, Oli’s claim that his government built and handed over 700,000 houses during his tenure is wrong.
5 min read
The Musahar community has long been marginalized and discriminated against, but the Covid-19 pandemic only made things worse.
5 min read
The life of a medical professional grappling with the Covid19 crisis in Rolpa
3 min read
Kathmandu must brace itself as Covid cases continue to rise
10 min read
Prabes Roka Magar spent 10 years fighting the state but now he’s disillusioned and looking to start a wine factory in Thabang, the heart of the Maoist insurgency.
5 min read
Despite constitutional provisions, inaction on supporting laws has meant that individuals are routinely denied citizenship through their mothers.
11 min read
Nepal’s Department of Tourism has come under fire for awarding summit certificates to climbers who never made it to the top of Everest
Week in Politics
4 min read
What happened, what does it mean, why does it matter.
5 min read
As millions stay safely home, frontliners like Lapcha rush through the Valley’s empty streets, risking their own lives to save those infected with Covid-19.