In the past week, Nepal has seen an alarming rise in cases reporting over 5000 positive cases daily. In the last 24 hour alone, a total number of 7388 new cases were reported, with 55 deaths across Nepal. The Ministry of Health warned that this level of infection is going beyond the capacity of Nepal’s public health system. The government is conducting as many as 15000 coronavirus tests in a day, and the recovery rate stands at 87%. The second wave of cases fueled by the double mutant virus is more potent with young people and children infected.
The government has appealed to everyone to wear the mask, avoid going out of the homes unnecessarily, maintain physical distance and strictly follow the health and safety guidelines. The government has extended the ongoing prohibitory period further by a week till 12 May. Domestic flights are also halted. This is expected to limit the spread of infection in the country.
Most of the major hospitals in the country are swamped with an influx of COVID patients – more than half are in the capital Kathmandu. As the COVID-19 cases are spiralling out of control, experts warn this epidemic could overwhelm Nepal’s fragile health system. Officials are worried that if the country is unable to break the chain of transmission, a densely populated city like Kathmandu might face a similar situation that Delhi is facing right now due to the devastating second wave of coronavirus cases.
Nepal launched its vaccination campaign back in January, giving doses from India and China to nearly 2 million people. But, with 30 million and limited access to vaccines, Nepal will need support from the international community. It is becoming equally challenging for the government to maintain the regular supply of oxygens, antiviral and other life-saving medicines to the COVID treating hospitals.
We are in INF, implementing the appropriate measures as directed by the Nepal Government and have been regularly monitoring the situation from the ground level in order to manage and mitigate the impact of COVID. We are concerned about its impact on our work and, notably, the most vulnerable groups, individuals and families with low income and limited access to health care facilities. This situation is undoubtedly going to put significant financial pressure on many individuals and families. At the same time, the socio and psychological health issues among our staff, community members we serve, our patients will keep worsening.
As we prepare ourselves to respond to this crisis, we are challenged to find ways and strategize the interventions not just to address the immediate needs but a recovery work for the long run, ensuring that the vulnerable groups are part of our response work.
Please join us in prayers so we may face the challenges and serve the most vulnerable people in the best possible way.