As the world tries to grapple with successive coronavirus waves, it has been reported that COVID-19 reached the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, within weeks of reopening to climbers after a year’s closure. 

Erlend Ness, a climber from Norway was evacuated from the mountains by a helicopter on April 15 after feeling sick for roughly six days, reported BBC. He tested positive for COVID-19 three times and was taken to two different hospitals in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. 

He was kept in the hospital for eight nights in isolation and tested negative on April 22. He is now living with friends in the city. 

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While talking about his experience in the mountains, Ness said, “Not many people used masks on the trek.” As per reports, a sherpa in Ness’ party also tested positive.  He said he could have been more careful, “done more” to defend himself against the virus like wearing his mask the whole day and washing his hands more regularly. 

The Norwegian climber said it’s possible he may have caught the coronavirus in one of the tea houses along the Khumbu Valley, reported BBC. 

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Mount Everest, which generates massive income for Nepal through expeditions, had been shut for about a year due to the pandemic before being reopened recently. People testing positive for COVID-19 poses a real problem for the country. 

Foreign climbers may attempt to ascent the peak in the spring season, which began in April. Nepal annually earns up to $4 million by issuing permits for climbers to scale Mount Everest, as per the Kathmandu Post.

Nepal’s Department of Immigration says that all travellers wanting to enter the country must show a negative COVID report, received within 72 hours of the first flight taken. Travellers coming from countries with COVID variants are required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days. After five days if they test negative, they can resume the next half of their quarantine at home, reported BBC.