Kathmandu – Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has directed all hospitals to allocate at least 50 per cent of their beds for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Earlier, private, cooperative and community hospitals were required to apportion 20 per cent of their beds for COVID-19 management. Dr. Jageshwor Gautam, MoHP spokesperson, informed that the previous arrangement was changed as per the decision made today. Earlier, medical colleges were directed to allot 33 per cent of their beds for COVID-19 management. Number of COVID-19 cases have spiked across the country including Kathmandu in the last two weeks. MoHP has been conducting the RT PCR of those people who come to close contact with a person confirmed of having contracted the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. According to the MoHP, the private, cooperative, community and medical colleges have to allocate all kinds of beds including the ICU for COVID-19 in the said percentage. The government had made similar decision with regard to government hospitals in relation to COVID-19. Similarly, the MoHP has set new criteria in relation to discharge of COVID-19 patients. According to new criteria, if a patient has no symptoms or signs for the last three consecutive days, a patient could be discharged in 10 days. A patient discharged in this way would be required to stay in home isolation for a week. The ministry has decided that all the laboratories approved for conducting PCR rest for SARS-CoV-2 should continue the tests except for three days during the Dashain festival. Frontline health workers will be required to stay in quarantine for a week only if they show COVID-19 symptoms. Earlier, they would have to stay in quarantine for a week after they worked for a week. Changes have also been made in relation to testing and treatment of COVID-19 patients as per the Cabinet decision two weeks ago. According to the new arrangement, only the poor, helpless, single women, people with severe disability, senior citizen, frontline health workers, sanitation workers, security forces and civil servants deputed in risky areas will get free testing and treatment. However, if these people have done COVID-19 insurance, their treatment would be borne by the insurance, said Dr. Gautam, MoHP spokesperson. Members of the general public will have to bear the cost of testing and treatment of COVID-19 on their own, according to the new decision. Earlier, all those getting testing and treatment at government hospitals were given the services free of charge.