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Is Nepal next? India’s COVID-19 crisis spreads to its neighbor

Nepal is now facing the same perfect storm for devastating virus outbreaks

Paramedics get ready to load dead bodies of COVID-19 victims onto an ambulance for cremation at a government run hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday.
Paramedics get ready to load dead bodies of COVID-19 victims onto an ambulance for cremation at a government run hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
Associated Press

In recent weeks, coronavirus outbreaks in India have surged, devastating the country. The strain of the outbreaks has spilled over onto India’s neighbors, particularly Nepal, the Himalayan country of 31 million people.

According to The New York Times, inadequate testing capacities, political turmoil or complacency, slow vaccination campaigns and vulnerable health care systems — what created the perfect storm for outbreaks in India — have led to the second wave of outbreaks in Nepal.

How bad is Nepal’s second wave?

Last month, COVID-19 cases in Nepal had stabilized around 100 new cases per day. By late April, the country recorded more than 2,000 cases per day, the number rising to more than 8,000 cases last week. This week, Nepal has recorded as many as 9,000 new cases per day.

So far, the total number of deaths remains around 4,200 fatalities. However, this number is expected to increase as the hospital system collapses under the second wave of the virus, The Washington Post reports.

What caused the second wave of outbreaks in Nepal?

Nepal’s surge of cases has been linked to five main developments:

Gatherings have now been strictly capped at 10 people. The country has banned international flights until May 31 and the Kathmandu valley — where the capital city is located — is under lockdown until May 27, CNN reports.

Experts say the surge will take more than a month to reach its peak. International calls for aid have come from the Nepali government and from citizens through social media.