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Nepal COVID SITREP as at 17 June 21

Headlines

1. The Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) continue to be engaged in identifying Nepal’s medical needs. Talks between the FCDO, Ministry of Health Nepal and Ambassador of Nepal UK continue. (No Change).

2. Army Medical and Advisory Team (MAT) had a successful meeting with the Nepal Army (NA) 2-Star Crisis Management Coordination Centre (CMCC) Commander and the 2-Star DG Medical Services (Change). See MoD/Army – para 11b (4) & (5).

3. Colonel Commandant, Deputy Colonel Commandant and HQBG staff continue to engage at appropriate levels to influence and enable the provision of the best possible support to Govt of Nepal (GoN) and Nepal Army. Deputy Col Comdt (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton) has once again raised the question of support to Nepal in the House of Lords (see his statement at 2:01pm) and requested the provision of 2 million vaccines for Nepal. (Change).

4. Numerous groups in UK continue to lobby the UK Govt to send vaccines directly to Nepal. The National policy remains to deliver through the COVAX initiative.

5. Nepal is to receive “a share” of the 7M Covid-19 vaccines given to 17 Asian countries by the US. This is part of the 19M vaccines donated to COVAX by the US. The UK has committed to providing 2M Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal through COVAX. (Change).

6. BG personnel have re-started compassionate leave and travel to Nepal. Travel to Nepal for compassionate cases originating in UK are to use the limited number of flights approved by the GoN. (No Change).

Political

International
a. The UN Nepal Covid Pandemic SITREP as at 14 June 21 gives a more detailed report on the situation in various parts of Nepal. Procurement of vaccines remains a critical gap and top priority. (Change).

b. World Health Organisation (WHO) COVAX, co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) and WHO are operating in Nepal in order to identify the priority needs and the response required. COVAX distributed 348K vaccines on 7 Mar 21. Details of when the balance (1,572K) of the 1.92M vaccines allocated to Nepal will be delivered has yet to be promulgated. China donated 800K vaccines to Nepal in Apr 21. (Change)

c. International organisations operating in Nepal are liaising with the GoN about the repatriation of their non-essential staff.

Nepal
a. 4 Jun The Nepali PM called on the UK to provide their Covid vaccine stocks either directly or through Gavi’s Covax facility as cases surge. In a BBC interview the Nepali Prime Minister called on the UK to provide vaccines. The Kathmandu Post questions why
countries are failing to respond to Nepal’s request for help. The Himalayan Times reports that Nepal has purchased 4M vaccines from China and have planned a new vaccination drive in mid-Jul 21. (Change).

b. The GoN has approved two flights a week to/from India and one flight to China mainly for medical supplies. Scheduled weekly flights, by a single airline, to China, Qatar and Turkey resumed from 1 Jun 21. All other international flights are suspended until 30 Jun 21 (extended from 31 May). (Change).

c. Domestic Airlines are suspended until further notice.

d. The GoN has given rights to each local government to impose a lockdown or take any other additional measures if COVID cases reach certain limits. The three Chief District Officers (CDOs) of Kathmandu Valley have extended the lockdown in the valley until 21
Jun 21. e. A few restrictions have been relaxed; food shops, agriculture and workshop are now allowed to remain open until 1100 hrs. Travel for reason any other than shopping, work or medical treatment after 1100 hrs is severely restricted.

f. MedCiti Hospital in Kathmandu is now reporting availability of COVID beds, critical and non-critical wards. Occupancy is still over 90%, but this is a significant change from 5 June 21. The situation in rural areas is reported to be deteriorating.

g. The demand for oxygen remains high, but the supply is improving, and hospitals are coping. Case numbers have fallen, but the existing figures remain high and there is a possibility that rising demands for bed space may again result in closure. Treatment of
non-COVID patients is not assured, but confidence is returning, and more patients are being seen.

h. COVID stats as at 16 Jun 21 (provided by BGN)

Total cases (x) 614,216 (610,521)
Total recovered (y) 543,521 (536,252)
Active (x-y) 77,695 (74,269)
No of tests conducted 13.022 (14,819)
Recovery rate 88.5% (87.8%)
Total death 8,558 (8495)
National daily reported cases 2,828 (2,918)

UK
a. Pressure brought by several Lords for a special effort for Nepal, notably from Lord Sheikh and the Earl of Sandwich, both sit on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Nepal.

b. UK Aid essential medical supplies arrived in Nepal. UK Ambassador to Nepal (Ms Nicola Pollitt) met the aircraft at Kathmandu airport. She was also interviewed by Khabarhub. (Change).

c. Change Org petition to Foreign Secretary launched with lots of high profile signatories: Joanna Lumley, Michael Palin, scientists, academics, Everest climbers, Gurkha veterans, including Captain Rambahadur Limbu VC, two former Colonel Commandants – Petition – Send Oxygen to Nepal. The petition has been rejected by the
Govt because of the similar petition “Provide Emergency Support to Treat COVID Patients in Nepal” had been submitted earlier. A further petition “UK should share Covid vaccine with Nepal” has been started by Co-Chair of Britain Nepal Medical Trust (BNMT).

d. Co-Chair BNMT and Chairman Britain Nepal Society (BNS) are both engaged in lobbying the UK Govt for vaccines to be sent to Nepal.

FCDO
a. Recovery of non-essential staff and dependents to UK, using the medical supplies aircraft has been accomplished. Core staff will remain in place to continue developmental work.

b. FCDO are reassessing the humanitarian situation and further support options.

MOD/Army
a. Col Comdt, Dep Col Comdt and HQBG staff engaging at appropriate levels.

b. Ongoing planning in MOD:
(1) Medical equipment reached Nepal on 28 May 21.
(2) MOD staff are reviewing options to provide wider support to Nepal in line
with FCDO intent.
(3) Meeting on 28 May discussed what else UK and MoD can do to support
Nepal. The revised NA wish list (including vaccines) has been received which
will inform the preparation of a Ministerial Submission.
(4) MAT discussions with the NA on 7 Jun included a revision of the ‘Wish
List from the UK’. The NA’s priorities remain as:
(a) Supply of vaccines.
(b) Assistance in Testing and equipment.
(c) Critical Care Management and equipment.
(d) Paediatric care support and equipment for a possible 3rd wave.
(e) Experience Sharing.
(5) The MAT’s Mission and Tasks have been submitted to Director General Military Intelligence (DGMI) for endorsement. In the meantime, they are conducting their “Understand” phase in order to draft their Concept of Operations (CONOPS).
(6) All non-essential and at-risk service personnel/dependants have
returned to the UK, bar a few who were in quarantine and unable to
travel. Total c115 pax (including some of those on leave) have now arrived in UK. Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration (RSOI) is in progress.
(7) HQBG facilitated the move of BGN personnel and families repatriated to the UK from their quarantine accommodation to Family Accommodation (SFA) in Larkhill. All families completed the move on 9 Jun 21.

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