KATHMANDU, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Nepal is preparing to take delivery of oxygen cylinders from China early next week as the Himalayan country faces an acute shortage of oxygen due to growing needs of COVID-19 patients, Nepali government officials said Saturday.
The Nepal Airlines is scheduled to send a plane to China next Monday to take back the oxygen cylinders donated by China, said the officials.
"If the schedule is not changed mid-way, our plane will fly to China on May 10 and return ... the next day," Tanka Nidhi Dahal, director with the airlines, told Xinhua.
The shipment is part of the cylinders to be provided by China in grant under an agreement between the two sides, said officials from Nepal's Finance and Health Ministries.
At a recent video conference of the foreign ministers of China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on COVID-19, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that China would provide Nepal with a new batch of anti-epidemic supplies.
At present, the batch of supplies is almost complete and will be sent to the Nepali side as soon as possible, while local governments and sectors of Chinese society are also actively donating needed supplies to Nepal, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday.
The Nepali government plans to distribute the China-made oxygen cylinders in government-run hospitals, which are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients as the second wave of the epidemic is sickening more and more people, said Nepali Health Ministry officials.