Stating that an estimated 193,000 new people will be infected with COVID-19 in the coming five months, the government said that it was working on an action plan to stem the spread and mitigate risks.
Addressing the House of Representatives on Thursday about the government’s response plan to the pandemic, the Minister of State for Health and Population said that some changes would be made in the ongoing vaccination program.
Public health experts have been advising the government to prepare well in advance to deal with the predictable third wave with an alarming rise in daily caseload.
According to Minister of State for Health Umesh Shrestha, out of the estimated 193,000 new COVID-19 infected people in the coming months, about 38,000 will be hospitalized. The government estimates that more than 9,000 of them will need intensive care.
Keeping in mind the same, Minister Shrestha said that the government’s action plan included adding healthcare equipment in COVID-19 hospitals and increasing the bed capacity of hospitals across country.
“The government is in the process of adding 275 ICU beds, including 180 ventilators,” he said, projecting that more children would be affected in the third wave. “All private sector, especially banks and financial institutions, are helping in constructing 166-bed HDU and PICU child Intensive Care Units (ICUs) across the country and adding 265 ventilators,” said Shrestha.
According to Shrestha, 6,000 oxygen cylinders and 5,500 oxygen concentrators have been added to the previous number while the government is making effort to procure more oxygen supplies. He also informed that resources had been secured to establish oxygen plants in 19 major hospitals of the country.
The government also plans to prioritize the Kathmandu Valley, densely populated cities in Tarai region, students, and youth in the ongoing vaccination program.
“Vaccines will be administered on the basis of age groups, areas with high economic activity and high infection rate. Under economic activity, priority will be given to daily wage workers” he said.
Likewise, Minister of State Shrestha said that arrangements were made to provide vaccine to the all students appearing for examinations.
Stating that preparations were being made to administer from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, he said that a coordinator had been appointed in all seven provinces to increase the number of vaccination centers, understand vaccination management situation and submit regular reports to the ministry.
Currently there are 16,000 vaccination centers across the nation.
Minister Shrestha added that 15.5 per cent of the population had been given first dose of the vaccine so far. “Around 150,000 to 200,000 people are being administered with the vaccine on a daily basis, and the government is planning to vaccinate 33 per cent of the population by mid-October.”
He reiterated that the government would receive 10.8 million doses of vaccines by mid-October.
As many as 2,888,360 people, which is 9.51 percent of the total population, have been fully vaccinated so far in the country.