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China visas only to those Nepalis getting Chinese Covid vax

In a bid to put pressure on the Nepal government to validate the use of the Sinopharm vaccine, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu has announced it will provide visas to only those who have been fully vaccinated with China-made COVID-19 vaccines

Mar 17, 2021
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In a bid to put pressure on the Nepal government to validate the use of the Sinopharm vaccine, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu has announced it will provide visas to only those who have been fully vaccinated with China-made COVID-19 vaccines. The Chinese Embassy in Nepal will provide facilitation to visa applicants who have been fully vaccinated with China-made COVID-19 vaccines and issued vaccination certificates, a notice issued by the Chinese mission read.

Though the Nepal government granted approval for emergency use of the vaccine developed by China's Sinopharm on February 18, lack of proper documentation of its trial results and logistic issues has prevented its rollout for larger public use.

Some government officials told IANS that the Chinese move could be pressure on Nepal to roll out the Chinese vaccines as Nepal has only being using Covishield vaccine manufactured by India's Serum Institute.

The Nepal government has not officially responded to the Chinese decision yet.

Earlier too, Chinese officials made attempts to push for wider use of its Covid vaccine in Nepal but Nepali officials have been reluctant in absence of proper documentation and logistic issues, such as Nepal needing to bring the vaccine from China at its own expense.

If they say they are gifting us, they have to hand it over to us here like Indians did, a senior Health Ministry official told IANS, but stressed that there is no prejudice over the Chinese vaccine.

Nepal so far has received 2,348,000 doses of vaccines e 1,000,000 doses under grant assistance from India, 1,000,000 doses of the 2,000,000 doses that the government has bought from the Serum Institute of India, and 348,000 doses under the Covax facility.

After India's announcement, China later announced that it will provide 300,000 Covid vaccines to Nepal as a grant. Later China added another 200,000 shots of vaccines to Nepal under the grant scheme on February 6 which was announced during a telephonic conversation between Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and Chinese Foreign Ministry Wang Yi.

On March 2, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi announced that China will provide 800,000 doses of Covid vaccine up from half a million promised earlier. The gift is to support Nepal's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Hou said in a Twitter post.

"Let us join hands to achieve the victory at an early date!" she said.

As of Tuesday, over 1.6 million people have been administered the Covid vaccine in Nepal.


(IANS)

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