The COVID-19 pandemic has led caused popular tourist attractions and activities to be closed or canceled around the world to prevent further spread of the virus. Mountain-climbing follows suit as Nepal’s government has announced that climbing permits for Mount Everest and other mountain peaks will be suspended this spring season.
Nepal is home to eight of the world’s highest mountain peaks, including the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, which is shared with China. The colossal mountain ranges draw a substantial amount of tourists to the region each year, particularly in the spring.
China has already suspended climbing on its side of Mount Everest.
Though Nepal currently has only one confirmed case of the coronavirus, mountain expedition operators have noted that they had received an influx of cancelations for the spring season even before the suspension. Concern from climbers was raised as a virus can easily spread among mountaineers who must spend weeks in close proximity to each other in cold temperatures.
According to ABC News, Nepal will also be taking precautions to ensure no tourists risk spreading the virus. Upon arrival to Nepal, all tourists will have their visas canceled and must be self-quarantined for up to two weeks starting on March 14. All visitors must enter Nepal through the country’s international airport in Kathmandu; no visitors will be permitted to enter through land borders.
Meanwhile, Nepali citizens are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel and large crowds, and schools will be closed throughout the county next week.
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