Nepal

Nepal: COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Report No. 44 (As of 30 July 2021)

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Situation Report
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This report is produced by Office of the Resident Coordinator in collaboration with partners. It covers the period from 17-30 July 2021. The next report will be issued on or around 12 August 2021.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Relaxing of prohibitory orders and decreasing adherence to public health and social measures observed across the country, particularly outside Kathmandu Valley, in contributing to concerns of a new spike in infections.

• Fear of disease transmission and movement restrictions remain major challenges for patients to access non-COVID-19 health services.

• Daily food and other essential needs of vulnerable families affected by secondary impacts of COVID-19 are largely unmet. Dry spell across western Nepal is compounding food hardships, with winter crop production expected to drop by 40-80%.

• Construction of semi-permanent health desks is completed at two points of entry and ongoing at three additional points of entry (PoEs).

• Eight young children have died in Sarlahi district due to lack of proper drainage systems after falling in road depressions and drainage holes.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

As restrictions are eased across the country COVID-19 cases are on the rise again. A telephone-based knowledge, attitude a practice survey conducted in mid-June found that nearly 50% of the population does not perceive themselves or their families to be at risk from COVID-19. The same proportion cited lack of adherence to public health and social measures in crowded public places as the main reason for transmission within their community. Despite this, only 60% reported washing hands with soap and water, 50% reported wearing a mask outside the home and 40% reported maintaining social distance of two metres in public places. Province Two ranked the lowest in terms of self-reported adherence to PHSM practices.

In addition to low adherence to PHSM, rumours have created challenges to COVID-19 containment and vaccination objectives. A rumour that installation of corona guard ensures safety from COVID-19 published in major national dailies posed a risk to COVID-19 safety. Similarly, shortly after the arrival of Johnson and Johnson vaccines in Nepal news reports that the vaccine carries a risk of blood clots proliferated quickly on news and social media. Immediate response through graphic, audio-visual content and media engagement via the Crisis Media Hub dispelled the rumours, disseminated facts to a broad audience and increased acceptance of the vaccine.

Monsoon rains have been light over the reporting period, but to date monsoon related incidence have impacted 47 districts across the country. Displaced families are sheltering in various public buildings, increasing COVID-19 transmission risks and also posing challenges to meeting their basic needs. Flooding and landslide have caused damage to public and private infrastructures, including private houses. Road blockage, damages to the bridges along the road due to the flooding and landslide has posed logistics challenges in reaching out to the affected population.