KATHMANDUA, 25 June: A ventilator “bank” where hospitals can rent critical care machines for COVID-19 patients has given Nepal’s cash-strapped healthcare system a much-needed lifeline.
South Asian neighbours, experienced a spike in infections in April and May with hospitals overwhelmed and medical supplies running low.
As the infectious disease started to spread across the impoverished nation a year ago, Nepal only had 840 ventilators for a population of nearly 30 million, according to government data.
Most of the ventilators, needed to help severely ill COVID-19 patients breathe, were in the capital, Kathmandu, leaving regional and rural hospitals vulnerable.
While daily infections have since declined from a peak of more than 9,000 cases in mid-May, authorities say hospitals remain under pressure.
But Nepal Ventilator Services, a non-profit that has bought 85 of those machines through donations since the start of the pandemic last year, has helped meet the surge in demand.
“Nepal is chronically, insufficiently equipped with machines like ventilators,” the group’s co-founder, 42-year-old doctor Bishal Dhakal, told to news agency.
“It does not have even required numbers, which is about 2,000 to 3,000 machines for a 30-million population of Nepal.”
Belgium will ban entry to non-EU travelers from Britain in order to limit the spread of a Covid-19 variant that has forced London to delay the lifting of its pandemic curbs.
Britain is on a list of 27 nations that will also face the order which will take effect by June 27 at the latest, Jan Eyckmans, the spokesman for Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, told to media.
Belgium is concerned about the Delta variant, which first emerged in India, that has caused a surge in Covid cases in Britain, and forced the UK government to jettison plans to ease curbs from June 21.