News Digest – National Security & Climate Change (February 18 – February 24, 2021)

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Nepal’s Covid-19 tally reaches 273,666 as death toll reaches 2684: According to the health ministry, as of February 17, Nepal’s COVID-19 tally stands at 273,666 and the death tally has reached 2684. There are 1533 active cases of infection in the country while 270,068 people have made a recovery.

Officials have said that people above the age of 55 will be vaccinated in the second phase of the immunization drive being prepared by the Health Ministry. According to reports, the government already has a stock of 400,000 Covishield vaccine doses provided by India under grant assistance and the 500,000 vaccines promised by China are set to arrive soon. Furthermore, two million additional doses of Covishield vaccines are being bought from India and the WHO will also provide 2.25 million doses. Authorities have expressed confidence that there will not be a shortage of vaccines.

According to a sero-epidemiology study conducted in Kathmandu by the Nepal Health Research Council, “over 45% of front liners working in various hospitals across the valley had developed COVID-19 antibodies until December”. Health experts suggest that the figures of the study may reflect the exposure to the virus in the general population which would also explain the declining number of cases in Nepal over the past few months.

According to government officials, around 1.4% of the population has been administered vaccines as of February 24. Reports say that 429,705 people have received a Covishield jab in the vaccination drive that began on January 27. In a data made public by the Ministry of Health, around 85.65% of the Individuals falling under the first priority group have been vaccinated.

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