Nepal is battling a new and brutal wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said as he appealed to the UK and other developed nations on Monday to urgently provide his country with essential medical items, life-saving drugs and vaccines to combat the pandemic.
In an opinion piece published in The Guardian newspaper, Oli, who lost a confidence vote in Nepal’s House of Representatives on Monday, said the rise in the number of infections posed a serious challenge to the country’s citizens and the entire health service system.
Nepal on Monday reported 9,127 new cases, the highest single-day spike, in the last 24 hours taking the nationwide coronavirus infection tally to 403,794. It also reported 139 fatalities.
“Nepal’s history is one of hardship and struggle, yet this pandemic is pushing even us to our limits. The number of infections is straining the healthcare system; it has become tough to provide patients with the hospital beds that they need,” he wrote in the British newspaper.
There have been about 8,000 new cases every day for the past several days, which is quite high for a country of approximately 30 million people. “Even though our mortality rate is relatively low, every one of the 3,720 lives that, at the time of writing, we have lost to the pandemic is precious for us,” Oli noted.
Though the Nepal government was trying its best, due to the constraints of resources and infrastructure, the pandemic is turning out to be an overwhelming burden.
“I have, therefore, appealed to the international community to help us with vaccines, diagnostic tools, oxygen kits, critical care medicines and equipment, to support our efforts to save lives. Our urgent goal is to stop preventable deaths occurring,” he wrote.
As the current chair of the G7, and a champion of human welfare, the UK is in a position to play an important role in generating international support, he noted.
“Nepal has faith that Britain will use its influence to ensure that the G7 accelerates the deployment of vaccines around the world, especially to the countries that need them most urgently,” Oli wrote.
Noting that “we are living in an interconnected and interlinked world; this disease affects everyone. Nobody is safe until everyone is safe,” he wrote.
The pandemic has highlighted once again the vast gulf between the rich and poor worlds. This gap should be minimised by making the vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics more accessible to all.
Billions of people in the global south still do not know when the Covid-19 vaccine will be made available to them. Solidarity with these nations is essential, Oli added.