This report is produced by Office of the Resident Coordinator in collaboration with partners. It covers the period from 29 May to 4 June 2021. The next report will be issued on or around 11 June 2021.
- Meeting with provincial Chief Ministers highlighted significant gaps in essential human resources for medical response and huge challenges related to unemployment.
- Procurement of vaccines remains a critical gap and top priority.
- Service delivery is constrained by infection or fear of infection among essential staff who remain unvaccinated.
- Closure of schools with no or limited access to distance learning is reported to be contributing to child labor, child marriage and risky behavior among children.
- Isolation centres are regularly established without consideration of WASH requirements, thereby increasing infection risks.
A meeting was held between Chief Ministers of several provinces and the Resident Coordinator, along with heads of WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA and WFP, to learn more about the challenges provincial government are facing in the pandemic. Chief Ministers, while appreciating support extended to battle the pandemic to date made a strong request for continued partnership of the international community in helping them to address critical gaps in human resources to provide medical services. They also highlighted the huge gaps in providing employment to economically vulnerable households normally engaged in wage labour, who are currently unable to meet their family’s basic needs.
While cases have been declining across most provinces of Nepal, cases continued to increase over the past week in Gandaki province. Declining case numbers are related to the strict lockdown. Slight easing of measures in the coming weeks will be a test for the country. The ability to manage COVID-19 out of lockdowns will depend on adherence to public health and social measures, which to date has proved challenging, not least due to a need to contextualize global guidance for remote, rural and poor households to enable their action.
Test positivity has declined to 34.9%, which remains among the highest globally. In the extremely remote Karnali province test positivity is highest, at 43.8%. Chief Ministers raised gaps in RT-PCR testing availability in hill and mountain regions of their provinces, leading to inability to identify COVID-19 infections among people in those communities. This is among the gaps that the new supply of antigen tests is aimed at filling.