Asia Coronavirus (COVID-19) Most Read

Tue 04 May 2021:

Coronavirus cases in Nepal have exploded as the virulent Indian strain of the virus crosses the two neighbouring countries’ open border. 

On Monday, Nepal’s COVID-19 cases increased by 7,388 and deaths by 37, the highest spike in 24 hours since the pandemic started. Nepal has recorded a total of 343,418 cases and 3,362 deaths, according to official data.

Weeping relatives offered last respects to their loved ones as crematory workers lifted bodies for open air cremation on the bank of Bagmati river near the Pashupatinath temple, the biggest Hindu shrine in Kathmandu.

Crematory workers say they were stretched as the flow of dead bodies had increased with the recent spike in deaths.

The surge in infections last week prompted the government to impose new lockdowns in major cities and towns, restricting the movement of people and vehicles and shuttering markets, offices and schools.

Tens of thousands of people rushed out of Kathmandu to avoid the 15-day shutdown that began on Thursday.

Hospital beds were already scarce and medical resources stretched as the country entered the new wave trying to recover from an economic hit from a nearly four-month lockdown last year.

Nepal’s latest concern has been the 1,800-kilometre open border the Himalayan nation shares with India.

Tens of thousands of Nepalese migrant workers have been returning to Nepal across this border as India’s health system breaks down.

The government has ordered tests and quarantines for those arriving, but in practice many people slip through undetected and travel to their villages.


Appeals for COVID-19 vaccines 

Nepal urgently needs at least 1.6 million AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine doses to administer second shots as the Himalayan country is recording a surge in new coronavirus cases.

On Monday, Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli urged foreign donors to supply vaccines and critical care medicines to prevent a collapse of the small country’s creaky health infrastructure.

Nepal, wedged between China and India, has already vaccinated more than two million people with the AstraZeneca vaccine provided by India and China’s Sinopharm.

But authorities were forced to suspend the vaccination programme last month after the country failed to secure fresh dispatches of vaccine from India and China.

“I would like to request our neighbours, friendly countries and international organisations to help us with vaccines and critical care medicines …to support ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic,” Oli said in a televised address.

Oli said officials were in contact China and Russia and other manufacturers to urgently secure vaccines. 




Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *