News Digest – National Security & Climate Change (November 5 – 11)



Nepal’s COVID-19 tally passes 200,000 mark as death toll reaches 1,174: As of November 4, Nepal’s COVID-19 tally stands at 202,329 and the death tally has reached 1,174. According to the health ministry, there are 38912 active cases of infection in the country while 162243 people have made a recovery. Province No. 2 has reported 18,969 cases with 166 deaths, Bagmati Pradesh has reported 106,007 cases with 552 deaths, Lumbini Pradesh has reported 22,037 cases with 162 deaths, Sudurpaschim Pradesh has reported 10,611 cases with 27 deaths, Province No. 1 has reported 22,546 cases with 141 deaths, Karnali Pradesh has reported 5,873 cases with 13 deaths, and Gandaki Pradesh has reported 10,981 cases with 65 deaths.

Health Ministry preparing legal grounds to allow the use of COVID-19 vaccines: On November 9, the US drug maker Pifzer and a German biotech firm BioNTech announced that the vaccine they developed was found to be over 90% effective. The Health Ministry, heavily criticized for the handling of the pandemic, has now begun preparing legal grounds to use COVID-19 vaccines even if vaccine candidates are certified only for emergency use. A committee has been formed to make decisions on the import of COVID-19 vaccines. However, experts have stressed the continued importance of contact testing and following safety measures.

Nepal faces the double threat of pollution and pandemic this winter: Various studies have shown that coronavirus survives more in cold and dry conditions. Furthermore, polluted air can worsen the spread and severity of the COVID-19. Cases of infections have also been soaring in polluted cities like Kathmandu and New Delhi. With the end of monsoon and as winter sets in, higher levels of air pollution can result in increased risk for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Authorities have also warned that it can make it more difficult to differentiate between coronavirus and non-coronavirus cases.

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