Nepal, India to cooperate in fight against Covid, vaccine supplies


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Nepal and India have agreed to continue the cooperation to fight the Covid-19 pandemic during a telephonic conversation between the foreign ministers of both the countries.

The foreign ministers of Nepal and India held a telephonic conversation on Friday afternoon to discuss cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, including supply of vaccines, among other matters.

Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali called his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar and discussed about Covid cooperation and vaccine supplies, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nepal.

"Nepal-India continue cooperation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. FM @PradeepgyawaliK held a tele-conversation with EAM of India @DrSJaishankar this afternoon.They exchanged views on further strengthening cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, including supply of vaccines," the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted.

During the meeting, Gyawali requested Jaishankar to make available one million Covid vaccine doses that Nepal had procured from the Serum Institute from India. The Serum Institute has not supplied half of the two million doses for which Nepal had placed an order by paying 80 per cent of the total cost.

The conversation between Gyawali and Jainshankar took place at a time when both Nepal and India are witnessing a massive surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, with the latter reporting a massive spike in daily caseload.

On Friday, Nepal reported 288 new Covid cases, while India reported more than 1.3 lakh cases.

Both ministers also discussed tightening the Nepal-India border in order to check the influx of people coming into the Himalayan nation from India. Nepal and India share long, open borders and people from both sides frequently cross the transit points.

The sudden surge in the number of coronavirus cases in India is a cause for concern for Nepali authorities, as the two countries share a 1,800 km-long open border through which people from both the countries crossover.

On the other hand, Nepal's vaccination drive has been halted due to lack of supplies from India. After inoculating around 1.8 million people with Covishield, Nepal suspended its vaccination drive after March 15 for the lack of vaccines. Nepal's plan to procure 5 million doses from the Serum Institute has been in limbo.

Source: IANS

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