WHO expresses serious concern over Covid pandemic in Nepal

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Kathmandu, May 15 | Expressing deep concern over the fast spreading Covid pandemic in Nepal, World Health Organisation’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that Nepal has emergency
needs.

While addressing a regular media briefing on Covid-19 on Friday in Geneva, Ghebreyesus said that India remains hugely concerning, with several states continuing to see a worrying number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

“But it’s not only India that has emergency needs,” said the UN health agency chief. “Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Egypt are just some of the countries that are dealing with spikes in cases and hospitalisations.”

“The coronavirus has grappled the country to a serious situation,” said Ghebreyesus underlining the similar kind of situation in India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Egypt. Medical fraternity, civil society, media, opposition parties and government officials have criticized the role of the government for its failure over taking prompt and effective action to handle the pandemic.

Nepal on Saturday reported 8,046 new coronavirus cases, 187 Covid-19-related fatalities in the last 24 hours taking the nationwide infection tally to 447,704 and the death toll has now reached 4,856. The number of active cases stands at 109,740.

The positivity rate is in a declining phase but still stands around 45 percent. After the country witnessed a sharp spike of cases, Nepal is now heading towards an India-like situation. Hospitals are running out of oxygen supplies, several hospitals have stopped taking new Covid patients due to lack of beds, ICU beds, ventilators and the country is seriously grappling with the health infrastructures. Reports are coming across the country that several hospitals that are running out of oxygen supplies have failed to protect the patients.

The government has ramped up to procure oxygen facilities and has mobilized its diplomatic missions. India has resumed the liquid oxygen supplies to Nepal and Nepal is bringing 2,000 oxygen cylinders from China along with other medical facilities. Nepal is also importing oxygen cylinders from Oman, Thailand and Nepali diasporas living abroad are also now extending support to the government of Nepal. Nepal has also imposed prohibitory orders in several parts of the country but the infection rate has not come down significantly, said Nepal’s Health Ministry.

We have a similar burden to India, but Nepal has less resources and capacity to cope, UN country director to Nepal, Sara Beyesolow Nayanti, wrote on Twitter mentioning the WHO, the international community should see the vulnerability of Nepal differently from India,
she said, Nepal needs help urgently!

In order to get more international support and mobilize the Covid related resources, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali held a virtual meeting with heads of Nepali diplomatic missions based in select 13 capital cities abroad, according to Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Gyawali, while informing the ambassadors about the most recent initiatives taken within the country to address the ongoing crisis of the Covid 19 pandemic, received updates from the respective ambassadors on the efforts made for the mobilization of international cooperation of vaccines, oxygen related items, medicines and other health related supplies.

Minister Gywali instructed the embassies to maximize efforts towards that direction and to explore further avenues of support at the bilateral and multilateral levels as well as through philanthropic organizations, private sector and Nepali diaspora.

Source: IANS

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