News Digest – National Security & Climate Change (July 15 – 21)

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According to reports, as of July 21, Nepal’s Covid-19 tally stands at 718,494 and the death tally has reached 9,582. There are 25,837 active cases of infection in the country while 633,332 people have made a recovery. The country recorded 2,445 new cases and 32 deaths on July 13. The overall per-day positivity rate is around 20.96 per cent.

The department of health and services announced on July 16 that the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which began on July 13, for five days would be shortened after vaccines supplied to health offices finished in three days. Meanwhile, public health experts have stressed the importance of ramping up vaccination drives in big cities and bordering areas so as to prevent mass outbreaks in densely populated areas. They have also urged authorities to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines.

Locals queuing for the second phase of Vero cell vaccination at the Pokhara 7 ward office. Photo: RSS

Nepal is set to receive at least 2.4 million doses of Vero Cell vaccines in the coming week. However, storage of vaccines has increasingly become an issue as officials at the Ministry of Health and Population have said that only around 1 million doses of the vaccine can be stored in the central facility in Kathmandu. According to reports, authorities will supply a portion of the vaccines to the provincial stores upon arrival and make room in the central storage for others. Similarly, officials are also mulling all those above 18 in Kathmandu and other big cities. Nepal began the vaccination drive of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine on 19July. The single shot vaccine is the third vaccine approved for public use in Nepal after Covishield (AstraZeneca) and Vero Cell. Nepal received 1.5 million doses of the vaccine donated by the United States through the COVAX facility that arrived in Nepal on July 12. According to reports, People in the age group 50-54, individuals with disabilities, and health and essential workers are eligible for the vaccine.

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