Coronavirus patients are lying in the open outside hospitals in Nepal, gasping for oxygen, while on a Kathmandu riverbank, dead bodies are being cremated in open air.
The Red Cross says this South Asian country is heading toward a “human catastrophe,” if no action is taken soon.
It is scrambling to contain a fresh wave of infections that has spilled across the border with India. That’s where a new variant of the virus first emerged. This strain has now spread throughout Nepal as well.
It’s sparked a surge in the country’s infections, recording 57 times as many cases as a month ago. The Red Cross says nearly half of coronavirus tests are coming back positive.
The surge has led to a shortage of hospital beds, medical supplies and oxygen. Overcrowded hospitals in capital city Kathmandu say they are unable to take new patients, who await treatment on the floor, in hallways or even outside.
Meanwhile, the death toll continues to rise, forcing city officials to create space on a riverbank to cremate a flow of bodies. The crematorium near the city’s largest Hindu temple has been overflowing with families of the dead.