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WHO official suggests Nepal cooperate with China, India to fight COVID-19

(Xinhua)    10:27, March 26, 2020

KATHMANDU, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Nepal Dr. Jos Vandelaer has suggested Nepal cooperate with neighboring China and India to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

"China has built a lot of expertise while responding to COVID-19. If the three countries can work together, they can all learn from each other, and certainly Nepal can benefit from the support of both neighbors," Vandelaer said on Tuesday in an interview here with Xinhua.

At a time when Nepal has asked its neighbors China and India to provide emergency medical supplies to handle the outbreak, the WHO official said Nepal needs more supplies such as personal protection equipment and ventilators if the scale of the pandemic goes higher.

"Some of these things are available locally, but some should be brought in," he said, adding that the WHO and other pioneer agencies are setting up a coordination mechanism.

He also suggested the Nepali government increase surveillance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, saying that it's important to detect more cases to minimize the threat of the virus.

One of the lessons learned from China "is to educate people and next is to increase the measures like surveillance as it's very important to pick up the cases, test and treat them," Vandelaer said.

Nepal has so far tested 687 samples in its National Public Health Laboratory since January, among which 684 cases were negative, including the students who were evacuated from China's Wuhan last month.

Expressing confidence in Nepal's present capacity to detect cases and to confront them in laboratory, he said that global and local solidarity is required to win the battle.

Nepal has lately beefed up its preventive measures, including suspension of international flights and closure of its borders.

Vandelaer also took the occasion to stress that there is no reason to panic and urged the public to follow basic guidelines like washing hands and keeping social distancing.

"Everybody is at risk, and everybody can do their part. We learned from China that it's not just the health sector that needs to act, but the government and whole of society should act together," he said.

The official said that the WHO is in close coordination with the Nepali Health Ministry. They have mapped different scenarios for different level of preparedness.

"This pandemic actually needs global solidarity. Everybody is at the same boat, it is a matter of helping each other," Vandelaer said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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