Nepal reaches out to other countries for jabs amid raging second wave

NEPAL is using all platforms available to reach out to the international community to procure vaccines amid the devastating impact of the second wave of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, the country’s communications minister said.

“We have appealed to all major countries in a position to help us to provide vaccines and other essential medical supplies to fight the pandemic,” Minister Parbat Gurung told dpa on Thursday.

The minister said the country was also in negotiations to purchase vaccines.

For several days now, Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli and senior members of his cabinet have been meeting ambassadors of major vaccine manufacturing countries seeking support for Nepal’s vaccination drive.

So far, Nepal has fully or partially inoculated around 2.2 million of its 30 million people, mainly with vaccines granted by India and China.

The country had also paid in advance for two million doses of the Covishield vaccine, the AstraZeneca-Oxford University shot manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, but half of the order remains to be delivered.

Relatively little affected by the first wave of infections, the small South Asian country has recently seen a massive surge in COVID-19 cases with nearly every second test coming back positive.

The second wave has been fuelled mainly by new variants of the virus first discovered in neighbouring India, with which Nepal shares roughly 1,770 kilometres of the open, poorly regulated border.

Nepal had on Wednesday logged 8,173 new COVID-19 cases and 246 related deaths.


– May 20, 2021 @ 15:09 GMT