Coronavirus has reached the highest mountain in the world, Everest. The sad news was shared by a Norwegian climber himself who tested positive for COVID-19. The moment news of him being a positive break, he was immediately evacuated by a helicopter. He was then shifted to a hospital in Kathmandu after spending time at Everest base camp.
Erlend Ness told AFP in a Facebook message, “My diagnosis is Covid-19. I’m doing ok now… The hospital is taking care (of me).”
A Norwegian broadcaster reported that along with him, a sherpa in his party too tested positive. Ness told the broadcaster, “I really hope that none of the others get infected with corona high up in the mountains. It is impossible to evacuate people with a helicopter when they’re above 8,000 meters.”
It’s extremely sad news. Considering how difficult it is to breathe at such high altitudes, the risk of any COVID-19 outbreak among climbers is quite scary. Ness further said, “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.”
Nepal was already struggling in terms of economy. With tourism a major source of income, the news comes as a blow. To ease the crowding, the tourism ministry has said that they will cap the number of people who can submit the mountain per window of suitable weather. After much contemplation, Nepal issued 377 permits to climb Everest.