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COVID-19 update | Nepal inks $150-million concessional loan with World Bank

Nepal Finance Secretary Sishir Kumar Dhungana and WB, Country Director, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos, signed the loan document.

June 27, 2021 / 08:23 PM IST
On May 3, Nepal's COVID-19 cases increased by 7,388 and deaths by 37, the highest spike in 24 hours since the pandemic started. Nepal has recorded a total of 343,418 cases and 3,362 deaths, according to official data. (Image: Reuters)

On May 3, Nepal's COVID-19 cases increased by 7,388 and deaths by 37, the highest spike in 24 hours since the pandemic started. Nepal has recorded a total of 343,418 cases and 3,362 deaths, according to official data. (Image: Reuters)

Nepal inked a concessional loan agreement of $150 million with the World Bank (WB) on Sunday for post-COVID-19 recovery and development.

Nepal Finance Secretary Sishir Kumar Dhungana and WB, Country Director, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos, signed the loan document. A concessional loan is a debt instrument where more favourable terms are agreed upon for the borrower than the market place.

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After signing the agreement, Dhungana said the funds will help Nepal build back better and greener, especially in view of the adverse effects of the pandemic. "The proposed budgetary support will be utilised in infrastructure projects and economic recovery… according to the requirements and priorities of the government, he said.

"The financial assistance will help speed up the ongoing large development projects, creating jobs, accelerate markets, and support green recovery," the Finance Ministry said in a statement. Meanwhile, Nepal reported 1,920 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, taking the nationwide tally to 665,777. The death toll rose to 9,009 with 34 more fatalities, heath officials said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Authorities said 6,000 swab samples were taken for RT-PCR tests in the last 24 hours, of which 1,353 results returned positive. The virus was detected among 567 people in antigen tests conducted on 3,836 people in the same period. There are 40,336 active coronavirus cases in the country. The number of people who have recovered from the disease is 584,334.

In the last 24 hours, 3,007 people have recovered from the disease. Nepal's COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 92.2 per cent.



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PTI
first published: Jun 27, 2021 08:23 pm
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