Nepal - COVID-19 Response Situation Report No. XXXVII, 21 December 2020

Situation Report
Originally published


National Context:

• The districts with COVID-19 active positive cases have now climbed up to 75 out of 77, with 1,795 deaths. In the past week alone, there were around 80 COVID-19 related deaths across Nepal (Ministry of Health and Population – MoHP).

• In an unexpected development in the Nepalese political environment, President Bidya Devi Bhandari- the President of Nepal, on 20 Dec 2020 has dissolved the parliament and has announced that a fresh election will be held in two phases: on the 1st and 10th May 2021. The Cabinet had recommended the President to dissolve the parliament and conduct fresh elections. The Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli himself had taken the recommendation to the Office of the President.

• The Chief District Officers of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur have decided to officially remove the odd-even rationing imposed on private and public vehicles plying roads in the valley effective from Friday, 18 December 2020.

• Nepalese and Indians flying to each other’s countries are not required to undergo quarantine if they have a negative virus test report completed less than 72 hours before departure, Nepal Airlines said on 17 Dec 2020, as it resumed services to New Delhi after a nine-month break.

• The WHO, on 17 December, said that the countries in Asia-Pacific Region are not guaranteed to have early access to COVID-19 shots and has urged them to adopt a longer-term approach to the pandemic. While some countries that have independent vaccine purchase agreements might start vaccination in the coming months, others could see vaccination begin in the middle or late 2021.

• The MoHP has reduced the quarantine and isolation period for COVID-19 patients. Earlier, the infected persons were required to stay in quarantine or isolation for 14 days. Now, they need to stay only for 10 days.

• COVID-19 patients only visit hospitals if they experience serious symptoms, because of which, patients in isolation has decreased, but the ICU beds are occupied. In Kathmandu valley, news reports say, most of the ICUs at government hospitals are occupied.