Cases skyrocket in Nepal prompting concern could mimic India's

Covid-19 cases are skyrocketing, hospitals are overwhelmed, and the country's Prime Minister is pleading for help from other nations.

Nepal is now reporting about 20 daily Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people -- about the same number as India was reporting two weeks ago.

Last weekend, 44% of Nepal's Covid tests came back positive, according to government figures quoted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), as it warned of an impending crisis.

"What is happening in India right now is a horrifying preview of Nepal's future if we cannot contain this latest Covid surge that is claiming more lives by the minute," Nepal's Red Cross chairperson, Dr. Netra Prasad Timsina, said in a statement.

The virus' rapid spread has raised fears Nepal is teetering on the brink of a crisis just as devastating as India's -- if not worse.

Nepal has a fragile health system, with fewer doctors per capita than India, and a lower vaccination rate than its neighbor. The country's high test positivity rate suggests it isn't catching nearly enough cases.

Mass public events, including festivals, political gatherings and weddings, have allowed cases to spread, along with general public complacency and slow government action.

"The the situations are worsening day by day and it may go out of control in future," Dr Samir Adhikari, a spokesperson for Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population, said Monday.

Although Nepal has tightened borders and imposed lockdowns in its worst-hit regions -- including the capital -- some fear that won't be enough to contain the virus as it spreads through the capital, and even as far as Everest Base Camp.