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COVID-19: Visitors from Nepal to go through rapid tests at Uttarakhand borders

A health worker collects a swab of a passenger to test for COVID- 19 (AP)Premium
A health worker collects a swab of a passenger to test for COVID- 19 (AP)

Besides the two international bridges - Jhoolaghat and Dharchula, rapid antigen tests have also been started at Udiyari bend, Panar bridge and Aincholi villageIndian Army on Sunday gifted one lakh doses of made-in-India anti-COVID-19 vaccines to the Nepal Army

The Uttarakhand district administration started rapid antigen tests of people coming from Nepal through the two main border bridges at Jhoolaghat and Dharchula in the wake of rising coronavirus cases.

Besides the two international bridges, rapid antigen tests have also been started at Udiyari bend, Panar bridge and Aincholi village which are the other entry points for people from Nepal.

 "We have instructed medical teams at the two international bridges not to allow any foreigner into Indian soil if they are found positive in the rapid antigen test," said Pithoragarh Chief Medical Officer MC Pant.    

"We have sent all test reports to our laboratory. The results are expected in one or two days. Only after that the actual situation of corona cases amongst the persons entering into the district from Nepal will be known," Pithoragarh District Magistrate Anand Swaroop said.

Nepal began vaccinations in January after receiving one million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine from India. Another 348,000 from the World Health Organization-backed Covax scheme arrived in March.

But only half of a follow-up order of two million shots from India has been delivered so far, and none have been administered since mid-March. But the health ministry said Tuesday that the drive would resume after 800,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine arrived on Monday. "It will be given after a decision is made on which population bracket we will target," health ministry spokesman Jageshwor Gautam told AFP.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army on Sunday gifted one lakh doses of made-in-India anti-COVID-19 vaccines to the Nepal Army, according to the sources.

The vaccines brought on Air India aircraft were handed over by the Indian Army officials to their counterparts from the Nepal Army at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

“Indian Army has gifted one lakh doses of made in India COVID – 19 vaccines to Nepal Army and it will be helpful for the force," according to a source from the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. Previously, India has also provided medicines and testing kits to Nepal.

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