Japan provides medical equipment to Nepal to tackle COVID-19

By Laxman Datt Pant

Japan provides medical equipment to Nepal to tackle COVID-19

As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge with 5,411 deaths so far in Nepal, the Government of Japan (GoJ) has provided 25 portable ultrasound image diagnostic systems (PUIDS) to 25 hospitals in the country, 23 of which were handed over to hospitals on May 16, one on May 18 with the remaining one expected to be installed today.

It is of note that on May 18, two new variants of the coronavirus were confirmed in Nepal.

“Japan will soon provide 160 oxygen concentrators and six ambulances. These oxygen concentrators will arrive in Nepal next month and they are significantly useful especially for the urgent treatment of COVID-19 patients since this high-tech equipment can generate highly concentrated oxygen without the need of oxygen cylinders. They will be distributed to 58 hospitals across the Nepal,” the statement issued on May 18 by the Embassy of Japan in Nepal reads.

Upon handing over the medical equipment to hospitals, Kikuta Yutaka, Ambassador of Japan to Nepal, remarked:

“The PUIDS provided by the GoJ this time are easy as they are portable, and will significantly contribute to the diagnosis of COVID-19 patients. While Japan herself keeps fighting the pandemic domestically, Japan always stands behind Nepal.” He added, “We will tackle the COVID-19 pandemic together at this critical time. I sincerely hope that the medical equipment from the GoJ will help Nepalese people to tackle the current state of situation.”

The GoJ supports Nepal in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic by providing medical equipment under Japanese Grant Aid. Earlier this year in January, 25 blood gas analyzers were provided to 25 hospitals across the country.

  • On May 18, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) of Nepal confirmed the detection of two new variants of the coronavirus
  • The MoHP confirmed that there are now three known variants of the virus currently active in Nepal
  • Of a total of 35 samples sent for gene sequencing to CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in India, B.1.617.2 was detected in 34 samples
  • The remaining sample displayed the presence of the B.1.617.1 variant
  • On May 10, the World Health Organization declared this variant to be of global concern
  • The UK variant, B.1.1.7, was identified in three samples that were sent for sequencing to Hong Kong in January this year
  • As many as 8,203 new cases of infection have been recorded in Nepal in the last 24 hours
  • A total of 196 people died due to the infection in the same period
  • As of May 18, the total number of coronavirus infections in Nepal had reached 472,354 of which 352,314 have recovered
  • The total number of deaths due to the coronavirus in Nepal stands at 5,411
  • Currently, the number of active cases across the country is 114,529

Meanwhile, warning that the new variants have been found to be more infectious and therefore pose higher health risks for people of all age groups, the MoHP urged people to strictly adhere to the prescribed health protocols.