Nepal facing ‘human catastrophe’ similar to India amid Covid-19 surge

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<p>File image:  In this 5 May, 2021 photo, Nepalese men in personal protective suits cremate the bodies of Covid-19 victims while others extend the crematorium as the number of deaths rise near Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, Nepal</p> (AP)

File image: In this 5 May, 2021 photo, Nepalese men in personal protective suits cremate the bodies of Covid-19 victims while others extend the crematorium as the number of deaths rise near Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, Nepal

(AP)

Nepal is facing a ‘human catastrophe’ similar to India’s amid the second wave of Covid-19 as it recorded its highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in a joint statement, said several hospitals are full and overflowing with Covid-19 patients. It went on to highlight that southern towns near the Indian border are unable to cope with the growing number of people needing medical treatment.

Reporting of cases is 57 times higher than this time last month. India is currently witnessing a severe second wave of the pandemic breaking global records of the single-day spike in the cases with 414,188.

So far Nepal has recorded 359,610 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic last year and 3,475 deaths. But of these totals, 79,885 cases, which makes up more than 22 per cent, were recorded in the last four weeks.

On May 6, it recorded 8,605 cases – the highest single-day jump in Covid-19 cases, while the previous high was on 22 October 2020, when it had recorded 5,743 cases in one day.

Nepal Red Cross Chairperson, Dr Netra Prasad Timsina, said: “What is happening in India right now is a horrifying preview of Nepal’s future if we cannot contain this latest Covid surge that is claiming more lives by the minute. Every effort is being made to save lives right now across Nepal with increased medical treatment.”

“It is beyond distressing to see that people cannot say goodbye to their loved ones as cremations are taking place at record levels due to these new Covid variants, which are striking down people of all ages in Nepal,” said Dr Timsina.

It expressed concern that in Nepal only one per cent of the population has received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine so far.

The statement said that across Nepal, 44 per cent of tests returned positive results last weekend, according to government authorities, indicating many thousands of infections go undiagnosed.

“There are grave fears of mass deaths if the virus continues spreading unchecked across the country,” it cautioned.

The statement said that other South Asian countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan have all experienced recent record death rates due to Covid-19.

It said that hospitals and intensive care departments remain full or close to capacity in many areas across Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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