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AP Interview: Official says Nepal desperately needs vaccines

June 17, 2021 - 6:41 AM

KATHMANDU Nepal (AP) — Nepal has significantly reduced coronavirus infections after its worst outbreak, which overwhelmed the country's medical system, but is in desperate need of vaccines, its health minister said Thursday.

“We have gone down from the red stage to the yellow stage, but are not yet able to reach the green zone,” Health Minister Sher Bahadur Tamang said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We are working very hard to get us there."

Nepal has been under lockdown since April after new cases and deaths spiked following a massive outbreak in neighboring India.

Close to 10,000 new cases and hundreds of deaths were reported daily in mid-May, when the surge was at its worst. There was an acute shortage of hospital beds, medicines and oxygen for patients.

After weeks of lockdown, the situation has improved. The number of new cases on Thursday was 2,607 along with 39 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

Nepal launched a vaccination campaign in January but was forced to suspend it after India halted exports of domestically produced AstraZeneca vaccines because of its own outbreak.

“The main issue for us is vaccines, and unless we get vaccines we cannot say everyone is safe," Tamang said. “We have been appealing to all countries manufacturing vaccines to please provide us with some."

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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