Nepal: Covid runs rampant through villages with patients fearful to go to hospitals

ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward reports from Nepal as Covid-19 continues to take its toll on many in remote villages

Nobody knows for sure the toll Covid is taking in Nepal.

A mountainous, landlocked country wedged between India and China where a third of its 28 million population are living in poverty. 

A strict lockdown has brought a deadly second wave of the pandemic under control in the capital, Kathmandu, but it is still running rampant in the remote villages of this Himalayan nation.

Doctors have warned of a huge human toll in rural areas, where the Red Cross is working to save as many lives as they can.  

'We don't really go home very often'

We followed one of their teams in Banepa, around 16 miles east of Kathmandu.

The first call responded to by driver Kedar Shrestha and fellow paramedic Dipesh Timalsena is to a woman who is seriously ill with the virus but refusing treatment. 

They are led to her house where they can see is extremely weak and her son is asking for help. 

Her chances of surviving are low, but here like in other parts of the world during an outbreak, people fear going to hospital too. 

'She flatly refuses to go to the hospital'

The crew have to leave but add her to the list for oxygen. When not transporting patients, they shuttle what supplies there are, to those in most need.

At the hospital in town, their next task is to take an elderly Covid patient home to die.

Her grandson carries her on his back to their van and holds her hand as Dipesh fixes her oxygen supply for the journey.

It’s too late to save her, so all her relatives can do is try to bring her some comfort in her remaining days.

It's too late for one patient, an elderly woman, who is being taken home to die with her family by her side. Credit: ITV News

Amid reports the virus has mutated in the country, Nepal's health minister this week warned of a potential third wave still to come. 

Delays in testing and a shortage of vaccines have created challenges to match the terrain in this mountainous and impoverished nation. 

The Red Cross team in Banepa is braced for more difficult days ahead.

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