Nepal: COVID cases may double as infections hit record

Nepal reported the most cases in a single day on Tuesday as government projects the tally could double by the end of the month.

A Nepalese girl receives a dose of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 at her school in Kathmandu
A Nepalese girl receives a dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine at her school in Kathmandu [Niranjan Shrestha/AP]

Nepal has recorded 10,258 new coronavirus infections, government data showed, the highest number reported in a single day as the government projects the tally could double by the end of the month.

Total infections on Tuesday topped 972,198 and COVID-19-related deaths stood at 11,624. The previous daily record was 9,483 cases in May last year.

Authorities extended a ban on large public gatherings in the hill-ringed Kathmandu Valley, home to more than four million people, until February 12 from January 29 to try to control the spread of the virus.

A Nepalese man reacts as health worker collects swab sample
A Nepalese man reacts as a health worker collects a swab sample during a COVID-19 antigen test in Dakshinkali on the outskirts of Kathmandu [Narendra Shrestha/EPA]

Nepal’s daily number of infections is likely to double by the end of January and hospitalisation cases could increase greatly, putting further strain on the country’s poor health infrastructure, officials said.

“This is just a projection for us to prepare,” Krishna Prasad Poudel, head of the epidemiology and disease control division, told Reuters news agency.

“Actual numbers could be higher or lower than the likely 20,000 daily cases before they begin to fall.”

Hospitals ran short of beds and many patients died due to lack of oxygen when the outbreak of the Delta variant peaked in May last year.

“The government has made adequate arrangements to ensure that there is no shortage of oxygen this time,” Poudel said.

Nepal, which has double-vaccinated 40.6 percent of its 30 million people since last year, began giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to front-line workers on Monday.

Neighbouring Bhutan reported a daily tally of 141 cases on Monday, also its highest number since the pandemic began.

Source: Reuters