Nepalese army men in personal protective suits unload the dead bodies of COVID-19 victims for cremation in Kathmandu, Nepal. AP
Gulf Today Report
Nepal urgently needs at least 1.6 million AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine doses to administer second shots as the Himalayan country is recording a surge in new coronavirus cases.
"People who have already got the first dose will be in difficulty if they don't receive their second dose within the stipulated time," said Samir Adhikari, a senior official of the Ministry of Health and Population in capital Kathmandu.
On Monday, Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli urged foreign donors to supply vaccines and critical care medicines to prevent a collapse of the small country's creaky health infrastructure.
Nepal, wedged between China and India, has already vaccinated more than two million people with the AstraZeneca vaccine provided by India and China's Sinopharm.
But authorities were forced to suspend the vaccination programme last month after the country failed to secure fresh dispatches of vaccine from India and China.
"I would like to request our neighbours, friendly countries and international organisations to help us with vaccines and critical care medicines ...to support ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic,” Oli said in a televised address.
Oli said officials were in contact China and Russia and other manufacturers to urgently secure vaccines.
Oli, who has been criticised for doing little to contain the pandemic, said vaccines and critical care medicines were "global goods" and that everyone should have access.
On Monday, Nepal's COVID-19 cases increased by 7,388 and deaths by 37, the highest spike in 24 hours since the pandemic started. Nepal has recorded a total of 343,418 cases and 3,362 deaths, according to official data, according to Reuters.
Weeping relatives offered last respects to their loved ones as crematory workers lifted bodies for open air cremation on the bank of Bagmati river near the Pashupatinath temple, the biggest Hindu shrine in Kathmandu.
Crematory workers say they were stretched as the flow of dead bodies had increased with the recent spike in deaths.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal are among Asia's poorest nations by GDP per capita. In total, the World Bank had provided $12 billion for developing countries to procure and distribute Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.
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A year into the pandemic, infection rates are falling. Hospitals are quieter; morgues are emptier. Emboldened by vaccines, we’re dropping our masks and stepping closer. Slowly we’re reopening indoor dining, theaters, museums and schools.
Across Britain, some people who have been counting down the days to their first COVID-19 jab are suddenly suffering doubts – among them my wife, Rachel, who was due to have it on Tuesday. The suspension of the roll out of the Oxford/AstraZeneca
According to the statement, the prayer spots will be opened 30 minutes before prayer and will be closed instantly after it, while the women's prayer places will be closed until further notice.
A team of Tibetan mountaineering guides will set up the separation line at the peak before climbers attempt to reach the summit from the Chinese side, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
It was not clear what the separation line would be made of.
Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sputnik vaccines are provided at approved centres across the UAE.