News Digest – National Security & Climate Change (November 12 – 18)


Nepal’s COVID-19 tally passes 211475 mark as death toll reaches 1247: As of November 4, Nepal’s COVID-19 tally stands at 211475 and the death tally has reached 1247. According to the health ministry, there are 30986 active cases of infection in the country while 179242 people have made a recovery. Province No. 2 has reported 19391 cases with 171 deaths, Bagmati Pradesh has reported 114613 cases with 620 deaths, Lumbini Pradesh has reported 23601 cases with 172 deaths, Sudurpaschim Pradesh has reported 11156 cases with 31 deaths, Province No. 1 has reported 24342 cases with 163 deaths, Karnali Pradesh has reported 5,950 cases with 14 deaths, and Gandaki Pradesh has reported 12,422 cases with 76 deaths.

A probe finds Nepal Army count of COVID-19 fatalities more reliable than Health Ministry: A three member probe team was formed two weeks ago to investigate the reason for variation of data on COVID-19 deaths between the Health Ministry and Nepal Army. They have found errors in the Health Ministry’s collection but not in that of Nepal Army’s. A senior level official at the Health Ministry also said, “The number of people who died from the virus are far more than what we are claiming.” As of November 18, Nepal Army’s data shows that over 1,800 people have died of the infection while government shows that it is over 1200.

A reported Rs 20 billion spent by Health Ministry on the COVID-19 pandemic: The government has spent a reported Rs 20 billion to contain the COVID-19 crisis so far, despite having been continuously criticized for the mismanagement and poor handling of the pandemic. According to reports, former and current Health Ministry officials said that the lack of communication and coordination between agencies is a major reason why the crisis has not been successfully managed. Currently, the number of new cases and the death toll have continued to soar and the Health system of Nepal is buckling under its pressure.

The cabinet approves guidelines to reopen schools: The government has been criticized since the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis for the lack of communication and coordination between government agencies. In yet another instance, the cabinet has pushed for the reopening of schools by issuing guidelines while local governments remain opposed to the idea and want to continue lockdowns due to rising cases. Schools and colleges across the country have remained shut since March 24, when the nationwide blanket lockdown was first announced.

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