Nepal’s second wave of Covid infections is tapering off — but the country needs more vaccines to handle the pandemic, Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli told CNBC.
“The wave is under control and it is going down,” he told “Street Signs Asia” on Monday. He said there’s been a 75% decrease in cases.
Nepal reported 2,049 infections on Monday, down from a record of more than 9,000 new cases a day in mid-May.
“It was like a crisis, a very serious crisis … when the wave started,” Oli said, noting that infections and deaths spiked, and Nepal faced a shortage of hospital beds, medical equipment and facilities. He described the surge as “highly infectious and more lethal.”
Nepali billionaire Binod Chaudhary told CNBC in May that the country underestimated the intensity of the second coronavirus wave.
“Gradually, we took very serious measures and took serious steps to reduce and control the pandemic,” the prime minister said.
Nepal also received generous support from vaccine producers, philanthropic organizations and other governments, he added.
Oli said Nepal is hoping to vaccinate its whole population by the end of 2021 if there are enough vaccines.
“Our population is just 30 million and, out of them, we have vaccinated (some people) already,” he said.
According to Our World in Data, just over 8% of people in the country have received at least one vaccine dose. Nepal has received vaccines donated by India, China and Covax, a global alliance aiming to deliver vaccines to poorer nations.
The prime minister said Nepal is also trying to secure millions of doses from countries including the U.S., U.K. and China.
“We are talking very seriously with China, and we are hopeful that we can get more vaccines,” Oli said. “Within this year, I think, tentatively we can complete the process of vaccination.”