According to the health ministry, as of April 16, Nepal’s Covid-19 tally stands at 307,925 and the death tally has reached 3,194. There are 26,224 active cases of infection in the country while 278,506 people have made a recovery. The Health Ministry recorded 4,364 new cases and 18 deaths on 27th April.
India is currently experiencing one of the world’s worst cases of Covid-19 infections with record breaking daily totals. Nepal shares a long and porous border with India and the spillover effects are obvious. However, according to reports, authorities have not been conducting tests or quarantining individuals crossing the border as cases continue to grow and overwhelm health facilities. Cases have been spiking in the country and Nepali authorities seem as unprepared as they were a year ago.
The GoN has announced prohibitory orders for two weeks starting on April 29 after Covid-19 infections began to spike in the valley. Out of all the cases reported across the country, Kathmandu valley accounted for almost half, emerging as a hotspot for infections. The prohibitory orders have bars the movement of both public and private vehicles, only allowing the functioning of essential services. According to reports, 2,200 police personnel will be deployed to enforce the prohibitory orders. Public health experts had been expressing concerns over a second wave of infections for the past few weeks which has now seemed to arrive.
Lockdown like prohibitory orders have been placed in the Kathmandu valley, amid surge in number of Covid-19 infections. Dr Krishna Prasad Paudel, director at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division has said that while the prohibitory orders may help break the chain of infections, the period should be used to increase testing, identify hotspots, and setting up quarantine and isolation centers, and enhance treatment capacity of hospitals and health facilities.
Nepal was supposed to receive one million doses of the Covishield vaccine from the Serum Institute of India in early March. However, with India currently experiencing one of the worst outbreaks in the world, the Indian governemt has also imposed restrictions on the export of vaccines. Therefore, despite the GoN having made the advanced payment for the additional one million vaccines, it is still uncertain as to when they will be delivered. Furthermore, the government’s efforts to diversify its sources of procurement has also foundered.