Covid-19: Nepal seeks India for providing medical supplies to fight COVID-19

KATHMANDU: The Nepal government has sought second assistance from India for the supply of oxygen, antiviral drugs and intensive care unit beds, as the country's healthcare system is cracking under the pressure of the rising coronavirus caseload.

Last year, the Nepal government thanked India for having provided providing medical supplies, including testing kits, as part of the bilateral cooperation to fight the coronavirus pandemic in the country, which reported the first death from the deadly disease.

Now, as per officials, a request providing medical supplies was made to New Delhi by the Ministry of Health through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Nepali Embassy in New Delhi has already started taking up the matter with concerned Indian government agencies, officials said.

"We have received a list of requirements from the government and have forwarded them to relevant (Indian) government agencies," a senior Nepali diplomat at the Nepali embassy in Delhi told the Post over the phone. The list of requirements includes oxygen, Remdesivir and intensive care unit beds, the Kathmandu Post reported on Saturday.

The request, however, has come at a time when India itself is struggling to contain the lethal second wave of the coronavirus, with the daily count of infections soaring over 300,000 and the number of daily deaths hitting a record 2,263. Public health experts say the request to India at this time exposes the government's lack of preparedness against the looming second wave about which they had consistently warned.

Nepal too had seen a sudden decline in the number of cases after the daily count hit the highest ever on October 21 last year at 3,439. But from less than 100 new infections on March 12, the country on Thursday reported 2,365 new cases.

The Ministry of Health said on Friday the number of new cases in the past 24 hours hit 2,449, with five deaths. Officials say the country's health facilities are already overwhelmed, with hospitals running out of intensive care beds, oxygen and Remdesivir.

 

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