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Weeks after re-opening, COVID-19 confirmed in visitors to Everest Base Camp

Wednesday, April 21st 2021, 2:01 pm - There are no plans to close the mountain at this time.

Earlier this month, after more than a year of being closed to stop the spread of COVID-19, officials re-opened Mount Everest and seven other peaks to mountaineers.

Strict safety measures have been imposed — including a one-week quarantine requirement, negative COVID test, mask-wearing, and social distancing — but that hasn't been enough to entice everyone to return.

Back in March CNN reported the Chinese side of the mountain will remain closed to tourists and not all mountaineering companies have decided to re-commence Everest treks, citing pandemic-related safety concerns.

FIRST CASE OF CORONAVIRUS CONFIRMED AMONG CLIMBERS

Now, less than three weeks after Nepal re-opened, doctors have confirmed "several" cases of coronavirus among climbers attempting to scale Everest, the New York Times reports.

The climbers were confirmed positive at a Kathmandu hospital after being flown in from Everest Base Camp the hospital's medical director, Prativa Pandey, said Wednesday.

The base camp serves as the starting point for Everest expeditions, comprised of campsites used by hikers and mountaineers. Pandey declined to provide any details on the affected climbers but said officials are attempting to determine if the positive patients were "mingling" with others at the camp.

So far, the Government of Nepal has issued 371 climbing permits this year, approaching the 2019 record of 382 permits, Outside reports. With Sherpas and support staff accounted for, the base camp could "grow into a small city of over 700 people in the next few weeks," Outside says.

At the time of this writing, there are no plans to close the mountain in the wake of the recent COVID cases.

Thumbnail image: File photo of Everest Base Camp. Courtesy: Surajaley/Wikimedia Commons.

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