DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) – India has sought to combat coronavirus infection by increasing vaccine production, banning its export and cutting off supplies to its neighbors in Bangladesh and Nepal as they fight their contagious outbreaks.
These countries have imposed blockades as residents of large cities flee to villages in search of safety. They are appealing to China and Russia to get vaccines in a desperate effort to overcome a larger, deadly epidemic in South Asia.
Although newer, more transmissible versions seem to be partially catching up with the wave, experts say other factors are contributing to it, including large holiday gatherings and growing social distance fatigue and wearing a mask.
This is the situation in a part of South Asia, in a region with a population of a quarter of the world.
The Indian subcontinent has caused great concern for Bangladesh, which shares a 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) land border with India, where infections and deaths have risen in recent weeks.
The country of 160 million Muslims has been in a deadlock since May 5, which authorities say could be extended.
Bangladeshi officials fear new versions circulating in India could wreak havoc.
“This is a matter of serious concern to us,” said Dr. ASM Alamgir, chief scientific officer at the government’s Institute for Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research. “This concern has prompted the government to stop all cross-border movement of people.”
By imposing a ban on the export of AstraZeneca vaccines by its Indian Serum Institute, Bangladesh is trying to obtain technology from Russia և China to produce their vaccines locally.
In Nepal, the outbreak has prompted the government to impose new blockades in major cities, restricting the movement of people, vehicles, closing closed markets, offices and schools.
Hospital beds were already scarce, and medical resources were running low as the country plunged into a new wave of recovery from the economic shock of a four-month blockade last year.
Nepal’s last concern was the 1,800-kilometer (1,125-mile) open border that the Himalayan nation shares with India. Tens of thousands of Nepalese migrant workers are returning to Nepal across the border when India’s healthcare system fails.
The government has ordered tests for quarantine visitors, but in practice many people stumble through the undiscovered and travel to their villages.
In January, Nepal launched a vaccination campaign with 1 million doses of the Indian-donated AstraZeneca vaccine, but it was halted because India refused to allow the export because its domestic situation was deteriorating.
Nepal has also paid an increase of 1 million shares from India, but has been waiting for delivery since March. This delivery is needed for the elderly in the second dose prescribed in May.
The campaign resumed with 800,000 doses of the vaccine donated by China, and Nepal is currently in talks with Russian authorities to supply Russian vaccines.
For many weeks, the number of COVID-19 infections per day in Sri Lanka was less than 200. But last week the figure rose sharply to 1466 on Thursday, the highest level in a single day since the epidemic began. ,
Government և health officials say rising numbers are boosting celebrations և shopping for the traditional New Year’s festival on April 14; they warn that the worst is yet to come.
“This is a very dangerous situation for Sri Lanka,” said Dr Padma Gunaratn, president of the Sri Lanka Medical Association.
The country of nearly 22 million people registered 104,953 coronavirus infections և 655 deaths.
Dr. Chandima Ewandaran, director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine at the University of Sri Ayewardenepura, said the more widely available version now contributes to the wave.
The government responded by imposing restrictions, including the closure of schools and public offices, and the banning of private meetings and parties. However, the media show that some people ignore social distance and do not wear face masks.
Chief epidemiologist Dr Sudat Samaravera warned that the number of patients “could rise sharply over the next two weeks”.
Little Bhutan is a success story in the region, despite being poor: having land borders with China, where the virus was first found, և India, which is currently in disaster.
The population of about 800,000 recorded only one death և 1059 infections.
Its success is based on blockchains, quarantines, contact detection, and early adoption of other measures, such as this year’s rapid vaccination program. According to government statistics, more than 480,000 doses of the vaccine were administered on April 26.
Associated Press Writers Binaj Gurubacharia in Kathmandu, Nepal; Sri Lanka, Colombo, Bharata Mallawarachi; Anirudda Gossal in New Delhi contributed to this report.
The Associated Press Health Science Department is supported by the Science Education Department of Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.