One hospital in Kathmandu confirmed it had taken in patients from Everest who had contracted the coronavirus disease but couldn’t give a number.(ANI)
One hospital in Kathmandu confirmed it had taken in patients from Everest who had contracted the coronavirus disease but couldn’t give a number.(ANI)

Covid-19 hits a new peak, infects climber on Everest

The pandemic wiped out last year’s season, but Nepal has eased quarantine rules in an effort to attract more climbers despite the difficulties of treating them if they contract the deadly disease.
AFP | , Kathmandu
PUBLISHED ON APR 23, 2021 12:40 AM IST

Norwegian climber hoping to summit Everest has confirmed that he has tested positive for Covid-19, in a blow to Nepal’s hopes for a bumper mountaineering season on the world’s highest peak.

The pandemic wiped out last year’s season, but Nepal has eased quarantine rules in an effort to attract more climbers despite the difficulties of treating them if they contract the deadly disease.

“My diagnosis is Covid-19,” Erlend Ness told AFP in a Facebook message. “I’m doing ok now... The hospital is taking care (of me).” Ness was evacuated from the slopes by helicopter and taken to a hospital in Kathmandu after spending time at Everest base camp. Norwegian broadcaster NRK, which interviewed him, reported that a sherpa in his party has also tested positive.

“I really hope that none of the others get infected... high up in the mountains. It is impossible to evacuate people with a helicopter when they’re above 8,000 metres,” Ness told NRK. Breathing is already difficult at high altitudes, so any outbreak of disease among climbers presents urgent health risks.

“The plan was to get fast high up in the mountains to make sure that we wouldn’t get infected... I’ve been unlucky and I could have done more by myself when it comes to sanitary precautions,” Ness added.

One hospital in Kathmandu confirmed it had taken in patients from Everest who had contracted the coronavirus disease but couldn’t give a number.

“I can’t share the details, but some evacuated from Everest have tested positive,” Prativa Pandey, the medical director at Kathmandu’s CIWEC Hospital, told AFP. But Mira Acharya, a spokesperson for Nepal’s tourism department, said it has so far not received any reports of Covid-19 among climbers.

Dawa Steven Sherpa of Asian Trekking said everyone at base camp was concerned. Nepal issued 377 permits this year to climb the mountain, and the final number is expected to exceed 381 handed out in 2019.

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