Doctors are struggling to treat patients gasping for breath in Nepal, where confirmed cases of COVID-19 have increased sharply in the past two weeks. UNICEF is on the ground, working with partners to support strained health systems and deliver critical lifesaving supplies.
“Two weeks ago, we didn’t even have 10 patients in the COVID-19 ward,” said Dr. Subash Prasad, intensive care specialist at Tribhuvan University Hospital in Kathmandu, the nation’s capital. “Now we have admitted around 75 people who have tested positive for coronavirus since then. And two weeks ago, we didn’t have any patients in the ICU. Now the 12-bed COVID ICU is full.” There are only 1,127 ICU beds in this country of 30,000 people.
The catastrophic second wave of COVID-19 cases that hit India first has spread to nearby nations especially Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Very low levels of vaccination in most South Asian countries (less than 10 percent in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal) is adding to concern that the virus will spiral even further.