Amid India facing a Covid-19 vaccine crunch, Nepal's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali has requested India to accelerate the supply of the vaccines to Nepal.
According to reports, India was expected to deliver about one million doses of Serum Institute’s Covishield vaccines to Nepal, last month. However, a massive surge of Covid-19 cases in India has affected its vaccine diplomacy and supply to other countries.
Kumar had a conversation with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar, on Friday, during which he requested him to facilitate the supply of Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal, officials said.
In a telephonic conversation, the two leaders discussed extending cooperation to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the Foreign Ministry in Kathmandu said.
"During the conversation, the two sides exchanged views on intensifying efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Foreign Minister Gyawali expressed sincere thanks to the Government of India for supporting Nepal in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, including through the generous gift of one million doses of Covishield," it said in a statement.
Gyawali requested Jaishankar for the necessary facilitation for the supply of the vaccines to Nepal to continue administering the second dose for people at highest risk.
"The External Affairs Minister of India assured him of a continued support to Nepal in its fight against the pandemic, including through the supply of vaccines," the statement added.
Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield is being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) which has collaborated with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the vaccine.
Nepal's Health Ministry has recommended restricting any gathering involving more than 25 people at a time in a bid to arrest the spread of the coronavirus.
The ministry has also recommended halting physical classes of schools and colleges.
In the last 24 hours, Nepal detected 332 new Covid-19 cases, taking the national tally to 279,100.
(With inputs from PTI)