Bring Vaccines Instead Of Only Extending Prohibitory Orders

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The second wave of coronavirus infections skyrocketed in Kathmandu valley, the capital of Nepal, in recent weeks and in an effort to contain the coronavirus, local authorities in Kathmandu valley decided to extend the ongoing prohibitory order placed since April 29, by a week more, until June 3.

A meeting of the chief district officers (CDOs) of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur decided to extend the prohibitory orders for a week starting from May 28. The meeting also decided to enforce the restrictions more strictly this time.

Grocery shops and departmental stores also won’t be allowed to open during the period. Only those selling medicine, milk, vegetables, and food items will be allowed to open till 9 a.m. Groceries will be allowed to open from 10 a.m until Thursday.

Nepal is reeling from the devastating second wave of coronavirus. The coronavirus patients are not getting beds and there is a shortage of oxygen. Almost all hospitals are flooded with coronavirus patients and their ventilators and ICUs are full. In some hospitals, patients are lying on the floor as they couldn’t find the bed. Cremations of those who died due to Covid are being carried out in an open ground on the bank of the river for lack of adequate space as the number of people dying of COVID-19 complication sees a sharp spike in recent days.

 Nepal which lies between India and China initiated its vaccination campaign in January and vaccinated 1.9 million people, all provided by India and China. But the campaign couldn’t be continued as Nepal couldn’t procure vaccines from India or any other countries.

Nepal ordered 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by India in February. Only half of the order arrived and Nepal continued its vaccination drive. Another neighbor, China also pledged 80,000 doses of vaccines which took time to arrive. Then, as India was hit by the second wave of the virus, it halted the vaccine exports citing its growing demand at home.

Nepal urgently needs at least 1.6 million AstraZeneca vaccines to administer the second shot.

Nepal, a small Himalayan nation urgently needs help in vaccines and medicines from the international community. The government should make efforts to bring vaccines and administer the majority of people rather than only extending prohibitory orders. The government should utilize the diplomatic channels effectively to request the international community for vaccines. Lockdown and prohibitory orders are only temporary and the last option. The government should find a permanent solution by availing vaccines. As the prohibitory orders are extended, the jobs of many people have vaporized and many people are short of food and money. Like in other countries, the government should find some relief packages for them also. Else, more people will die of hunger than the virus. Locking people inside their homes for indefinite times without making preparations to bring vaccines can’t be right. So, vaccinate people and save lives.

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