Health workers in protective suits spray disinfectant on children on a deserted street in Kathmandu on May 3, 2020 as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown.
Prakash Mathema | AFP | Getty Images
Nepal has underestimated its second wave of Covid-19 infections and needs to step up its efforts to deal with the crisis, Nepalese billionaire Binod Chaudhary said last week. Nor should the country hold its elections until the situation stabilizes, he said.
“I have to admit, we as a nation have probably underestimated the intensity of the second wave,” he told CNBC.Road signs Asia” on Friday.
The South Asian country’s Covid cases increased in April and continued to hit new record highs in May.
As of May 30, Nepal has reported 557,124 coronavirus infections and 7,272 deaths. according to the local health authorities.
The situation is similar to that in neighboring India second highest number of cases in the world.
Chaudhary, chairman of Nepal-based CG Corp Global, said the first wave was bad enough and the country had been “crippled” for about three months despite recovering.
“It’s worse this time,” he said.
Nepal’s medical system is under immense pressure, with a lack of oxygen, ventilators and intensive care beds, he said.
World Bank data shows that in 2018 Nepal had only 0.749 doctors per 1,000 people. That’s less than 0.857 in India and 2.812 in the UK in the same year.
Vaccination in Nepal has been hampered by the supply and, according to Our World in Data, only around 2.25% of the country’s 29 million people are fully vaccinated.
“We were counting on India,” said Chaudhary.
India is a vaccine manufacturing center and has donated recordings to neighboring countries. Nepal also bought cans, however India stopped exports in February to prioritize domestic demand.
“We’re looking for other sources of supply,” he said. “We must all increase our efforts quickly.”
He added that CG Corp Global has mobilized its network to help bring oxygen and ventilators to Nepal. The company’s nonprofit branch donated approximately $ 1 million to help address the health emergency.
Chaudhary urged the world to “pay special attention to countries like Nepal” when it comes to vaccines.
“This country needs to be safe and protected,” he said. Bordering India and China, Nepal is “strategically convenient yet small,” he said, predicting the problem could be resolved “fairly quickly”.
Various nations have sent aid in the form of medical supplies and personal protective equipment. China has According to reports, 800,000 doses of his Sinopharm-developed vaccine have been donated to Nepal.
Chaudhary, an opposition MP, said he would like all parties to bring the Covid-related challenges to the fore and try to get Nepal to safety.
“Unfortunately, that’s not the case,” he said. The Nepalese parliament was dissolved in December, but the move was reversed after the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional.
However, on May 22nd, President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved parliament and called for an election in November. Reuters reported that the Nepalese Congress Party announced to the opposition that it would launch a political and legal battle against the dissolution.
Most opposition parties find the timing unacceptable, Chaudhary said. It should take place when the country’s health and economic situation is back on track, he said.
It could do so in less than six months, but only with vaccines and medical equipment secured for Nepal, he predicted.
As cases continue to grow, Chaudhary said the call for an election was ironic and unfortunate.
“While the house is on fire, we are still fighting over who will sleep in the master bedroom.”