News Digest – National Security & Climate Change (January 14 – January 20)

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Nepal’s COVID-19 tally reaches 267,992 as death toll reaches 1969: According to the health ministry, as of January 20, Nepal’s COVID-19 tally stands at 267,992 and the death tally has reached 1969. There are 3764 active cases of infection in the country while 262,259 people have made a recovery.

Nepal’s vaccination to be riddled with challenges, experts say: Nepal has received approval for the emergency use of Covishield, developed by the University of Oxford and Pharmaceutical Company AstraZeneca, and manufactured in India. According to reports, Nepal is likely to receive a certain amount by January. Furthermore, according to the Health Ministry, the World Health Organization (WHO) will also provide vaccines for three percent of the population by the end of April. However, according to experts, Nepal’s vaccination drive is going to be riddled with challenges such as transportation, storage, surveillance, distribution, etc.

New variant of coronavirus, confirmed in Nepal: After weeks of speculation, the new COVID-19 variant first identified in the UK, has also been confirmed in Nepal according to the Health Ministry. Speculations began three weeks ago when three individuals who arrived from the UK, tested positive for the virus. Their swab samples had been sent World Health Organization’s collaborating center in Hong Kong which determined that all three returnees were infected with the new variant. The Health Ministry said that “the incident shows that the risk of infections are not over and people should continue to follow safety protocols”.

Officials say Nepal is set to receive vaccines from India within days: According to reports, Health Ministry officials have said that Nepal is set to receive vaccines from India within days as talks finalize. However, they also said that they were unaware of the exact number of doses that Nepal is going to receive. The Ministry of External Affairs of India had also confirmed that Nepal is on the list of countries that it will start supplying the vaccines beginning January 20.

Ten Nepalis first to scale Mount K2 in peak winter: Ten Nepali climbers have made history by becoming the first to scale the dangerous and difficult K2 Mountain during peak winter. Before this expedition, except K2, thirteen of the world’s 14 peaks taller than 8,000-meters had already been climbed in winter. The good news was accompanied by some bad news as Spanish climber Sergi Mingote, who was the co-leader of the K2 winter expedition, died on January 16 while descending to the base camp, the same day the rest of the group reached the summit. According to reports, the men atop K2 on Saturday were Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Tenzing Sherpa, Mingma Gyalze Sherpa, Sona Sherpa, Galjen Sherpa, Pem Chiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Dawa Tenjin Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa, and Nirmal Purja.

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