News Digest – National Security (June 10 – 16, 2021)

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According to reports, as of June 16, Nepal’s Covid-19 tally stands at 614,216 and the death tally has reached 8,558. There are 62,137 active cases of infection in the country while 543,521 people have made a recovery. The country recorded 2,014 new cases and 52 deaths on June 16.

Even though Nepal’s daily new infection counts has steadily gone down, case positivity rate continues to be around 30 percent. Public health experts have said that say infections, severity and deaths should be viewed simultaneously and tests must be scaled up. They have called for scaling up tests in especially in rural areas where the outbreaks have been alarming. Experts have stressed that while declining number of infections and deaths could be a sign of recovery, when viewed in isolation, these numbers can also be misleading when assessing the overall impact of the virus.

According to reports, Nepal is set to receive 348,000 doses of vaccines from the COVAX facility in July. However, that gives little relief to Nepal as around 1.4 million people aged 65 and above are waiting to get their second dose and there is little progress on procurement despite officials saying they’re reaching out to all sources. Authorities had extended the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield from 8 to 12 weeks to 12 – 16 weeks after failing to procure additional vaccines from India. However, it appears that Even if some of the 348,000 vaccines are given to those aged 65 and above, it will have been 18 weeks since the first dose.

Flooded Melamchi Bazaar due to the inundation in the Indravati River. Both the concrete bridge crossing Chautara Melamchi and the suspension bridge built in Chandra Shamsher’s tent have been washed away. Photo: RSS

The onset of monsoon season has triggered floods and landslides in various parts of Nepal including several districts of Gandaki, Bagmati, Lumbini and Sudurpaschim provinces. Continuous rains has increased the water level in several rivers and other water bodies to alarming levels. The destruction caused by these disasters has displaced people and even claimed several lives, houses have been destroyed and suspension bridges have been swept away in places like Melamchi Bazaar of Sindhupalchok district.

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