The “roof of the world” Mount Everest has been banned for climbers for the rest of the expedition season because of the coronavirus outbreak, announced Nepal government after the meeting on the issue of COVID19 precaution measures.
The expeditions who already received the climbing permits from 14 March until 30 April are facing abrupt cancellation. The measure did not come as a surprise, because
China had already cancelled expeditions from the northern, Chinese-controlled, side of the mountain.
“We have decided to halt all tourist visas until 30 April,” said Narayan Prasad Bidari, Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office.
“As of now, all issued permits and permits yet to be issued for the 2020 Everest season will be cancelled.”
The officials also advised foreigners who were unable to avoid coming to Nepal from 14 March to stay in quarantine for 14 days.
Most climbers come from the US, India, China, Russia, UK, Japan, and South Korea – and are a major source of revenue for the Nepalese government, purchasing trips for an average amount from $30 000 to $70 000 per person, dependent on additional services provided by local companies.
According to the Kathmandu Post, Nepal earns $4m (£3.1m) only by issuing Everest climbing permits every year, aside from wider tourism revenue.