How is a country in the state of helplessness, short in its resources handling the surge in its Covid 19 cases?
With the ongoing tough time in India, Nepal has seen a surge in their Covid-19 cases. With almost 5.13 lakh cases and 6,346 deaths recorded. The situation in Nepal is deteriorating day by day, with 8,317 new infections on average each day– the highest was reported with 9,238 new infections on 11th, May 2021.
Out of the seven provinces in Nepal, Bagmati Province has the highest number of Covid-19 afflicted patients with also the highest number of deaths.
THE SITUATION BEFORE
The last highest recorded average infections was recorded on 22nd, October 2020, which was 5,743 new infections. Fortunately, the situation was handled well, after which there was a drop in new infections, going upto only 59 on 9th, March 2021.
THE SITUATION NOW
After the unprecedented situation, UCPM (Union Civil Protection Mechanism) was immediately activated. Apparently, the surge was brought about by the double mutant strains from India, as reported by Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli. Also it was reported by Krishna Prasad Paudel, the director of Nepal’s Epidemiology and Disease Control Department, that the UK variant was also detected.
The country has been overwhelmed by the pandemic. Its health system is heading towards failure. Hospitals are turning away patients because they lack beds and oxygen. Though in some hospitals, patients are made to share beds. Medical services had to borrow oxygen cylinders from Mt. Everest climbers due to shortage. Nepal’s plan to procure millions of doses of vaccine is currently on hold. There has also been call for assistance to other countries like USA, china and others.
Nepalese paramedics treat a COVID-19 patient outside an emergency ward of a government-run hospital in Kathmandu.
While trying its best, the government has taken the following action in regards to the situation:
- Entry points with India are being closed
- More hospitals designated to rising patients
- Managemnt of Quarantine and Isolation Centres
- Contact tracing
- Mass quarantines
- Public awareness campaigns
- Nation wide lockdown
Nepal has administered at least 2,644,648 doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far, through a campaign launched in January. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 4.6% of the country’s population.
Over 90 developing nations, including Nepal, rely on India, home to the Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine maker, for the doses to protect their own populations, but India has now prioritized its own needs as a second wave of the epidemic there has run out of control.
Because every infected person needs two doses, but many countries including India either have different schedules for the second dose or are delayed due to circumstances.
The first phase of vaccine drive in Nepal was swift. It was completed on 5th March where 1 million vaccines were bought from India. But during the second phase which started as of 7th March , 2 million vaccines where bought form India but only 1 million had arrived. This was a time of emergency and Nepal had granted the emergency use of 8 lakh vaccines from China, which only arrived by 29th March. Later, Nepal administered the second dose from China starting from 16th May to 29th May. But for people who couldn’t get the second dose might have to wait till June, until the rest of the vaccines arrive from India .
Though there has been a slight decrease in the number of infected persons in the past few days, (On May 24th, 7220 cases were recorded) the country is very helpless and in a deep pit of misery like every other Covid inflicted country in the world now.