News Digest – National Security & Climate Change (November 19 – 25)



Nepal’s COVID-19 tally reaches 222,288 as death toll reaches 1337: As of November 25, Nepal’s COVID-19 tally stands at 222,288 and the death tally has reached 1337. According to the health ministry, there are 17,859 active cases of infection in the country while 204,858 people have made recovery. Province No. 2 has reported 19,745 cases with 174 deaths, Bagmati Pradesh has reported 122,933 cases with 665 deaths, Lumbini Pradesh has reported 24,776 cases with 186 deaths, Sudurpaschim Pradesh has reported 11,501 cases with 37 deaths, Province No. 1 has reported 25,670 cases with 173 deaths, Karnali Pradesh has reported 6014 cases with 22 deaths, and Gandaki Pradesh has reported 13,439 cases with 88 deaths.

Health Minister says Nepal will receive vaccine as soon as it is made available: On November 24, the Minister for Health and Population said that the government will ensure Nepal receives the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is made available. There have been recent breakthroughs with the long awaited vaccine and the minister has stated that the government is making all efforts to make sure that Nepalis have access to it at the same time as the rest of the world.

Doctors warn that winter may worsen the spread of the virus: Health officials have long maintained that respiratory diseases are likely to exacerbate during the winter. Doctors are concerned that the COVID-19 crisis in the country could worsen as cold and dry air facilitates the spread of the virus. According to reports, Nepal is already experiencing a rise in viral infections and other respiratory diseases since the onset of winter.

The National Public Health Laboratory says the validation of direct polymerase chain reaction tests “just satisfactory”: As the number of cases continue to rise, public health experts have been calling for alternative testing methods to detect COVID-19 in masses. The National Public Health Laboratory has said that, it has found the validation of direct polymerase chain reaction tests to be “just satisfactory”. However, public health experts have expressed suspicion and said that, “Direct polymerase chain reaction test is the gold standard for COVID-19 tests, is accepted worldwide and that the technique significantly reduces experimental time and costs”.

Public health experts warn the possibility of a Tuberculosis epidemic: With the onset of winter, cases of respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) tend to rise. In a nationwide survey of 2018-2019 revealed that at least 46 people die of tuberculosis every day throughout the country, which is three times more than previously believed. Public health experts have warned that not only is the COVID-19 pandemic likely to make the situation worse, but the spread of TB could soon become another epidemic in the country.

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