Nepal beset by shortage of hospital beds and oxgyen amid Covid surge

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A lack of liquid oxygen is proving a huge challenge to Nepal as it is swept by another wave of the coronavirus. Supplies from India are no longer available and the country’s complex political situation is also hindering the situation.

Nepal’s infection count is approaching 500 thousand people out of a population of nearly 30 million. Deaths are estimated at around 200 a day. Experts, however, say the real figure could be significantly higher. There are fears the virus could be particularly devastating in rural areas.

“They told me my mother’s oxygen level was low and asked me to find a bed somewhere else because the hospital was packed. I tried many places and found one out in the premises of this hospital. Only one bed was vacant when we arrived here. We were lucky to get it,” Tikaram Royaha, the son of a Covid-19 patient at a hospital in Kathmandu, told FRANCE 24.

An estimated 1.5 million people in Nepal are waiting for a second vaccine jab. Supplies have been held up by ban on exports introduced in India last month. Nepal is now relying on the last of its supplies of Sinopharm jabs from China.

The overall situation is hampered by ongoing political instability. The country’s House of Representatives suspended for the second time this year and an election has been called for November.

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