Nepal Runs Out Of Hospital Beds for COVID Patients, Oxygen Scarce

COVID-19 infections hit a record of 9,070 new cases in Nepal on Thursday as hospitals in the South Asian country ran out of available beds for patients and oxygen became scarce.

Extra hospital beds were crammed at one of Nepal's top hospitals, the Hospital for Advanced Medicine & Surgery in Kathmandu, while a hospital official described the dire situation across the country due to a lack of resources.

"Right now there are no beds available today in any hospital that is treating COVID patients. Even if any beds were made available, there is a huge scarcity of oxygen and we are not at the peak of this crisis," Dr. Jyotindra Sharma, the chief of Hospital for Advanced Medicine & Surgery, told the Associated Press. "In the extreme situation, people could be dying in the streets," Sharma added.

Nepal's government has pledged to make more hospital beds available but has been unable to significantly do so.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

COVID-19 in Nepal
Family members of a person who died from the Covid-19 coronavirus mourn outside a hospital in Kathmandu on May 5, 2021. Prakash Mathema/AFP via Getty Images

Across the border from a devastating surge in India, doctors in Nepal warned Friday of a major crisis as daily coronavirus cases hit a record.

Nepal's new 9,070 new confirmed cases on Thursday compares to 298 a month ago. The number of fatalities also reached its highest with 58 on Wednesday and 54 on Thursday, for a total of 3,529.

At the hospital, the only way to get admitted is through a waiting list.

"We are under-prepared, under-resourced, and under-capacitated to perform anything that is expected," said Dr. Bishal Dhakal, who has been working with coronavirus patients since the beginning of the pandemic.

A lockdown was imposed last month in major cities and towns, and Nepal this week stopped both domestic and international flights.

The government has pledged several times to also boost the treatment and preventive measures. However, there has not been any significant change.

Nepal began its vaccination campaign in January with 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca shots donated by India, but it had been suspended because of India's refusal to allow exports as its crisis worsened.

The vaccination resumed when China donated 800,000 doses, and Nepal is negotiating with Russia for supplies of the Sputnik V shots.

COVID-19 Patient in Nepal
A COVID-19 patient waits to receive oxygen outside an emergency ward of a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Nepal's main cities and towns including the capital Kathmandu has been in lockdown since last month as the number coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise. Niranjan Shrestha/AP Photo