• Sunday, Sep 19, 2021
  • Last Update : 09:56 am

Nepal worries future coronavirus wave will hit children hard

  • Published at 09:46 pm June 4th, 2021
Nepal Covid-19
A man wearing PPE cremates the body of a Covid-19 victim at the crematorium in Kathmandu on May 3, 2021 Reuters

The country has reported 581,560 infections in total and 7,731 deaths

Nepal asked its hospitals on Friday to reserve beds for children for fear another surge in coronavirus infections will hit them hard, something officials in neighbouring India are also preparing for.

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s government has been criticized by experts for its handling of the ongoing second wave in Nepal, which has led to an acute shortage of oxygen, hospital beds and medicines.

"Hospitals and medical institutions must set aside at least 20% of beds for children, who are likely to suffer the most in the potential third and fourth waves of coronavirus," the Ministry of Health and Population said in a statement.

"Hospitals must also ensure the availability of enough oxygen."

Daily infections in the Himalayan nation are hovering around 5,000 after hitting a peak of more than 9,000 in early May. 

Nepal had reported fewer than 100 daily cases in March. It has reported 581,560 infections in total and 7,731 deaths.

Donors have rushed aid including oxygen, protective gear, drugs and face masks to the country, which is also struggling to secure vaccines after neighbouring India stopped exports to meet its local demand.

On Friday, Nepal has reported its first death from “mucormycosis” or "black fungus," the highly deadly infection affecting thousands of coronavirus patients in neighbouring India.

Over 3.7 million dead

The pandemic has killed at least 3,719,842 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in December 2019, according to an AFP compilation of official data. 

The figures are based on reports by health authorities in each country, but do not take into account upward revisions carried out later by statistical bodies. 

The WHO says up to three times more people have died directly or indirectly due to the pandemic than official figures suggest.

Meanwhile, a WHO senior adviser said, wealthy countries need to give more Covid-19 vaccines and follow the US in making doses available immediately to cover a 200 million dose gap caused by Indian supply disruptions and manufacturing delays.

Top US scientist Anthony Fauci urges China to release medical records of nine miners who fell sick with a coronavirus-like illness in 2012 after entering a bat cave. He says they could provide insights into whether the pandemic came from a lab.

On Friday, the British regulator approves the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for all 12 to 15-year-olds.

Meanwhile, the number of babies born in Japan hit a new record low last year, official data shows, highlighting concern over the pandemic's impact on one of the world's lowest fertility rates.

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