Nepal takes oxygen cylinders from land routes with China amid oxygen shortage
Nepal is getting more oxygen cylinders and other medical supplies from China on Monday as the Himalayan country is battling against COVID-19 amid an acute shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds.
"A total of 2,500 cylinders brought by Nepali private companies arrived at bordering Tatopani customs points on Monday," Narad Gautam, chief customs officer at the Tatopani customs, told Xinhua. "It is for the first time that oxygen cylinders have arrived through this border point since the second wave of coronavirus hit Nepal last month."
Trade between Nepal and China has been ongoing through two border points, namely Tatopani-Zhangmu and Rasuwagadhi-Geelong.
Nepali customs officials and logistics companies said more oxygen cylinders and other medical goods are arriving in Nepal through the land routes.
"I am bringing more than 20,000 oxygen cylinders from China as ordered by different companies in Nepal," Ramesh Sherpa, chairman of the Silk Transport, told Xinhua. "The majority of them are on the way to Tatopani."
He said around 10,000 cylinders have already arrived at bordering areas. Besides oxygen cylinders, other medical goods including surgical masks, personal protective equipment, intensive care unit beds also reached the Tatopani border on Monday, according to Sherpa.
"My company is also delivering about 20 oxygen plants from China within the next one week," added Sherpa.
Nepal has received two batches of China-donated oxygen cylinders by air since May 11, as the country has been facing a severe oxygen crisis for the last two weeks, forcing hospitals to turn away COVID-19 patients.
In order to encourage private companies to import medical goods including oxygen cylinders and concentrators, the Nepali government has exempted taxes including value added tax, customs duty and excise duty for them.
For the past two weeks, Nepal has reported daily coronavirus cases of over 8,000 in most days.
On Monday, the government confirmed 9,198 new infections through the polymerase chain reaction test and 49 through the antigen test, bringing the total cases nationwide to 464,218.
Meanwhile, 214 new deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the national death toll to 5,215.