Struggling with the pressure of unruly internal politics and warring cultural factions, the small landlocked nation of Nepal is falling behind the rest of the world in mitigating damage from the coronavirus pandemic. But neighboring India has reopened vaccine aid and other medical equipment to fight down the death toll from Covid-19.
Tensions in Nepal boiled over in December, after Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli dissolved the country’s parliament. That triggered rampant political instability and nationwide protests. It also set the two world powers on Nepal’s borders, China and India, looking for ways to enhance their influence in the Himalayas.
The two powers have batted back and forth over border disputes in the region, and have frequently turned to influencing fighting factions in Nepal as a proxy for their disagreements. Now as chaos reigns over the country’s population of 28 million, coronavirus is taking a steepening toll on its inhabitants.
Nepal’s Covid Situation Reaches Bleak Daily Milestone
On Friday authorities there reported the highest-ever one-day tally of new cases, with 9,023 new coronavirus infections counted. That put the country’s total number of cases since the beginning of the global pandemic right at the 600,000 mark, breaking through to 604K by Saturday. The recovery rate has also climbed with new infections, to some 85%.
Many Nepalese are still in need of medical oxygen support for their lungs, and short supplies of vaccines have spurred India into action from a long period of relatively low intervention in Nepal, after a history of active intervention there.
Nepalese locals are also doing what they can to stem the case total and death toll from the disease. Youth Social workers like KP Khanal, aged 21, has been delivering food and hygiene supplies around the country to distribute to those in need. Khanal is a national celebrity known for youth activism projects like the Highway Cleanliness Campaign.
Maggie Doyne, who co-founded Blinknow a non-profit school and women’s center, has pivoted in the wake of Nepal’s covid situation, using her organization’s social working resources to combat covid as well.
Bottom Line: Nepalese authorities have certified Covid-19 as the cause of death in over 8,300 people. 50 of those deaths occurred on Friday along with the record one-day new case tally. Around half of administered tests in the country since the pandemic began determine that the patient is coronavirus positive, although SARS-CoV-2 test accuracy has been a subject of dispute worldwide.
Prime Minister Oli told CNN the “situation is under control” midday Saturday in Nepal, “Of course the pandemic is spreading in Nepal like it is in some other countries. The Covid-19 situation in Nepal is under control now, we must say.”