News Digest – National Security & Climate Change (December 31, 2020 – January 6, 2021)

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COVID-19

Nepal’s Covid-19 tally reaches 262,784 as death toll reaches 1893: According to the Health Ministry, as of January 6, 20201, Nepal’s Covid-19 tally stands at 262,784 and the death tally has reached 1,893. There are 5,225 active cases of infection in the country while 255,666 people have made a recovery.

Nepali authorities only monitoring arrivals from the UK for new variant: The new COVID-19 variant which was first discovered in the UK has now been identified in at least 33 other countries. Nepal had recently restricted airlines carrying passengers from or transiting through the UK but people travelling from or via the UK are arriving through transit in other countries. However, Nepali authorities have only been monitoring arrivals from the UK for the new variant, placing them under hotel quarantine and allowing arrivals from other countries go home.

Depleting air quality in Kathmandu Valley raises alarms: According to reports, the air quality of Kathmandu Valley was recorded to be the worst in the world on the evening of January 4, 2021. Air pollution levels in valley have been a concern for years but this is a record high even for Kathmandu. The health ministry has warned the public to exercise caution as the level of air pollution has quickly accelerated and also advised people to stay indoors. Public health experts and doctors have warned that this could not only increase vulnerability to COVID-19 but also cause health conditions such as chronic heart and lung disease.

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