- The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal can be confirmed with the exponential rise in the number of cases in April 2021. 152 cases were recorded on 1 April2021, which jumped to 4,897 on 28 April 2021. The countrywide case count has reached 312,699, with 3,211 deaths so far. Kathmandu Valley accounted for 2047 cases, i.e., over 40% of the total cases. Since 11 April 2021, the valley has recorded almost 15,000 cases.
- Nepal started its vaccine drive from 27 January 2021 after receiving 1 million doses of the Covishield vaccine as grant from India. 500,000 people were given the first dose under the first phase, which included health workers, government employees, sanitary workers, journalists, diplomats, and bank staffs. The second dose vaccination for those who received the vaccine in the first phase started on 20 April 2021. Likewise, the second phase of Nepal’s vaccine drive started on 7 April 2021 using the 800,000 doses of the Vero Cell vaccine donated by China.
- Nepal bought an additional 1 million doses of the Covishield vaccine from India, which it is yet to receive. Given that the Indian government put restrictions on export of vaccines due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in India, it is uncertain when or if Nepal will receive the vaccines.
- Despite the rising daily numbers in COVID-19 cases within the country, the government of Nepal is yet to take any steps on procuring alternative vaccines. However, the Department of Drug Administration on 20 April 2021, granted emergency use approval to Russian made vaccine Sputnik V.
- In response to the surging COVID-19 cases, the government of Nepal issued new guidelines to control the spread of the virus. As per the guidelines, all schools in urban areas of hard-hit districts are to shut physical classes. Likewise, businesses such as night clubs, gyms, party venues, dance bars, restaurants, swimming pools and sports centers need to remain closed till mid-May. Religious places such as temples, monasteries, churches, and mosques are to be closed for the public. No more than 25 people are allowed to gather in a place for any reason. The government also urged all universities to postpone their pre-scheduled examinations. Similarly, the government authorized local governments to impose lockdowns within their jurisdictions.
- Other restrictions include mandatory 10-day quarantine for people returning from abroad, although domestic and international flights are allowed to continue regular operation. Likewise, the government has barred the use of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) to be used for transit to fly to third countries.
- The District Administration Office (DAO) of the three cities inside Kathmandu Valley imposed lockdown in the valley effective from 29 April 2021 up till 12 May 2021. Likewise, districts with spike in cases such as Banke, Bardiya, Surkhet, Kaski, and Parsa have also issued prohibitory orders.
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