India Neighbor See Skyrocketing Cases

Day 407: Stay Safe Minnesota

Coronavirus cases are reportedly skyrocketing in countries around India, from Nepal in the north to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the south and — further away in Southeast Asia including in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.

In CNN, reporter Nector Gan writes that coronavirus cases are skyrocketing beyond India’s border in many countries in South and Southeast Asian countries. According to World Health Organization (WHO) ‘India had accounted for nearly half of all global infections and a quarter of deaths reported in the past week’.

“The Southeast Asia region reported over 2.7 million new cases and over 25,000 new deaths, a 19% and a 48% increase respectively compared to the previous week. India is currently driving the vast majority of this upward trend,” said WHO.

According to CNN, new spike of covid cases occuring in countries around India, from Nepal in the north to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the south. “And it’s not just India’s neighbors — further away in Southeast Asia, infections are also surging in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.”

Alexander Matheou, the IFRC’s Asia-Pacific regional director, reportedly said in a statement “We need to act now and we need to act fast to have any hope of containing this human catastrophe. This virus has no respect for borders and these variants are running rampant across Asia.”

Particular Concern in Nepal

According to BBC News, there is particular concern of rising covid infections in Nepal as more than 40% of all Covid tests are showing a positive result. “Nepal sent 15 samples collected two months ago to a WHO-certified lab in Hong Kong, which discovered the UK variant in nine of them and the India variant in one,” writes BBC News.

“In March, the Nepalese authorities brought in additional health checks at border crossings, finally closing more than 20 crossing points on 1 May. Restrictions were imposed in the Kathmandu valley area on 29 April.”

Screenshot source: BBC News

Why the Numbers are Rising?

According to BBC News, the growing number of cases in India’s neighbor is most likely due to Indian variants of Covid-19.

“Health experts are looking at whether one of these types of variant might be more transmissible. But it’s also possible that new infections could be linked to variants from elsewhere, such as the UK one. “

The genome sequencing facilities in the region is extremely limited, so there isn’t enough data to show if these new variants might be driving infections, writes BBC.

Nepal and Sri Lanka had to stop their vaccination drives at one point until they received donations of the Sinopharm vaccine from China. .. Pakistan has also turned to both Chinese and Russian vaccines to try to boost its vaccination programme.

From the BBC News

There is reportedly limited vaccine supplies in the region, due to some supply issues with the global Covax vaccine scheme.

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of May 8, 9 a.m.) 329,840,055 doses have been distributed and 257,347,205 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of May 6) a total of 4,551,759 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of May 8) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 586,959 (out of 9,477,892 tested) with 7,224 deaths.