| Olis virus situation under control remark meets with criticism | MR Online

Oli’s virus ‘situation under control’ remark meets with criticism

Originally published: The Kathmandu Post on May 9, 2021 by Tika R. Pradhan and Binod Ghimire (more by The Kathmandu Post) (Posted May 10, 2021)

Nepal on Friday reported 9,023 new coronavirus infections, the highest-ever single day tally since the pandemic began last year. A total of 50 people lost their lives to COVID-19, taking the death toll to 3,579. The number of active cases stood at 78,629. On average, close to 50 percent of total tests are returning positive results.

But on Saturday noon, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli told the CNN that the “situation is under control” in Nepal.

“Of course the pandemic is spreading in Nepal like it is in some other countries. The COVID-19 situation in Nepal is under control now we must say,” said Oli in response to how Nepal is placed to handle the surge in terms of resources and medical infrastructure.

Hours after, the Health Ministry released Saturday’s COVID-19 update. There were 53 new deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 3,632. As many as 8,287 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours throughout the country. The number of active cases stands at 83,493.

Just as Oli’s interview was live on TV, his press adviser Surya Thapa wrote on Twitter that Prime Minister Oli told the CNN that “the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal is under control.” In the evening, Thapa tested positive for the coronavirus, for a second time.

The good news is Prime Minister Oli tested negative, Nepal Television reported, quoting Dr Krishna Paudel, director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.

Oli in his Saturday interview also went on to blame the people for the rapid surge in virus cases, which many said was nothing but a naked display of his ineptitude and cover-up for his government’s mishandling of the pandemic.

 Tika R Pradhan is a senior political correspondent for the Post, covering politics, parliament, judiciary and social affairs. Pradhan joined the Post in 2016 after working at The Himalayan Times for more than a decade.

Binod Ghimire covers parliamentary affairs and human rights for The Kathmandu Post. Since joining the Post in 2010, he has reported primarily on social issues, focusing on education and transitional justice.

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