Nepal reports record high COVID-19 cases as gov't warns about hospital beds shortage

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Representative image
Representative image

Kathmandu [Nepal], May 1 (ANI/Xinhua): The Nepali government on Saturday reported a record spike in COVID-19 cases with the second wave of coronavirus hitting the Himalayan country.

"A total of 5,763 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours," Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population said on Saturday. The last record of highest coronavirus cases in a day was reported on October 21 last year, when the Nepali government reported 5,743 cases.

Nepal, which had reported cases as low as 47 on March 6, had started to see a rise in the cases in late March. But the cases have been surging rapidly in the last two weeks. In the last week, the number of cases more than doubled from 2,619 on April 24 to over 5,700 on Saturday.

Along with rising cases, hospitals are running out of beds which prompted the health ministry to issue a stern warning on Friday that the cases were rising at the scale that the health system was not able to cope with.

"Such a situation has arisen now that the patients cannot be provided care at the hospitals as they are running out of beds," the ministry said in a press statement on Friday.

This is obviously true in the case of Kathmandu-based Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital where patients exceeding the number of hospital beds have been admitted.

"We have a total of 60 beds in our hospital but we are providing treatment to 78 patients at the moment," Sagar Kumar Rajbhandari, director of the hospital, told Xinhua on Saturday. "We have five beds in the emergency ward but there are 18 patients there including in the adjoining corridor waiting for the occupied beds to become vacant."

In order to control the surging cases, the Nepali government has enforced a lockdown in the Kathmandu valley starting from April 29 for two weeks while similar measures are being adopted in many other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre headed by Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister Ishawar Pokharel on Friday recommended to the cabinet to suspend international flights amid the coronavirus crisis, according to Nepali media reports. (ANI/Xinhua)