KATHMANDU: The government of Nepal received over half a million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Japan on Saturday, as the number of fresh coronavirus cases continued to spike in the Himalayan nation.
Under its grant assistance programme, Japan has pledged to donate 1.6 million doses of the vaccine to Nepal.
The first batch consisting of 513,420 doses of the Japan-made vaccine arrived on a Qatar Airways flight in Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu on Saturday, said the health ministry here in a statement.
Another 287,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be delivered by Japan on Sunday, the statement added.
The remaining 800,000 doses will arrive in Nepal by next week.
These vaccines will be administered to senior citizens who have already received the first shot of the Covishield vaccine.
The number of new coronavirus cases in Nepal have increased at a steady pace in the last one month.
The Ministry of Health and Population on Saturday said in the last 24 hours 3,218 new cases were detected and 19 related deaths were recorded.
Now the COVID-19 case tally stands at 780,807 and the death toll at 10,038.
In total, 667,270 people have recovered from the disease in the country.
There are 35,432 active COVID-19 cases.