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Nepal Cancels Everest Climbing Season due to Coronavirus

© Jon Gupta

We reported yesterday that China had cancelled its spring climbing season on the Tibetan side of Everest due to the spread of the novel coronavirus and today Nepal has followed suit. Nepali government officials have announced that all tourist visas will be suspended until 30 April.

Everest and Lhotse – a rare view from high on Nuptse.
© Jon Gupta

According to the BBC, the decision was reached by a committee led by Deputy Prime Minister Ishwor Pokhrel. 'As of now, all issued permits and permits yet to be issued for the 2020 Everest season will be cancelled,' the committee stated.

The decision is a major cause for concern for local Sherpas who depend on the expedition season for earning a sufficient income. Lakpa Sherpa told the BBC: 'My nine Chinese clients and a Japanese client have cancelled already. Many trekking teams are not coming, which is a big loss for sherpas like us who make most of our money during this time.'

Up until yesterday, Nepali officials had avoided an outright ban by temporarily suspending the visa-on arrival process for visitors from eight coronavirus hotspots - China, Iran, Italy, Korea, Japan, France, Germany and Spain. Travellers were asked to collect visas in their home country via embassies and consulates before travelling to Nepal, which was effective from 10 March. Officials had also announced an additional visa step for nationals of these countries in the form of acquiring a health certificate proving a negative test for COVID-19, which was to be carried out within 7 days prior to arrival.

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13 Mar

Technically you could still go trekking in Nepal however its pretty much impossible to do so because...

A - On arrival in Nepal you must have a Visa issued by the Nepali Embassy in your own country (No Visas on Arrival are being issued). To have this Visa validated you must be able to produce a Medical Certificate issued within 7 days of your arrival in Ktm. stating that you are clear of Coronavirus However the UK announced yesterday it is only testing those who are in hospital so you cannot get tested unless you're in hospital. However if you've been in hospital you will not get entry to Nepal.

B - On actually getting in to Nepal you then have to self isolate for 14 days.

I really hope that Nepal's economy can survive this huge step as there's only supposedly been one case tested positive ( It was one of the very first cases outside China though which surely makes you very suspicious of that figure)


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