Nepal enacts tough curbs as Covid cases set record
Nepal’s capital shut schools, ordered citizens to carry vaccination cards in public, banned religious festivals and instructed hotel guests to be tested every three days as it battles its biggest Covid outbreak.
The chief government administrator of Kathmandu issued a notice on Friday saying all people must carry their vaccination cards when they are in public areas or shop in stores.
Nepal, however, has only fully vaccinated 41% of its population. The notice did not say how unvaccinated people will be able to pay utility bills or shop for groceries. The health ministry reported a record 12,338 new cases on Thursday and 11,352 on Wednesday, compared to a few hundred daily cases last month.
Pakistan on Friday recorded its highest single-day increase in Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic with 7,678 new patients. The country has reported 23 fatalities, taking the death toll to 29,065, according to the ministry of national health services.
Variant alert in S Africa
Lions and pumas at a private zoo in South Africa got severe Covid-19 from asymptomatic zoo handlers, raising concerns that new variants could emerge from animal reservoirs of the disease, studies carried out by a local university showed.
The University of Pretoria study add to evidence that while the dominant theory is that the Covid spread from animals to humans, the reverse can also happen. Data suggests that the disease was circulating among staff at the time of the lions’ illness and the disease was likely transferred from them to the big cats. The disease could then mutate in the animals and reinfect humans, researchers said.
Covid hits Antarctic base
Twenty-four of the 43 scientists and military personnel resident at Argentina’s La Esperanza base in Antarctica have been infected with Covid, an official said on Thursday. Nine of the 24, who have no symptoms and were waiting to get their shots, were evacuated to Buenos Aires by helicopter as a precaution.