Nepal reopens Everest despite pandemic uncertainty

  • Saturday 01, August 2020 03:29 PM
  • Nepal reopens Everest despite pandemic uncertainty
Sharjah24 – AFP: Nepal has reopened its mountains -- including Everest -- for the autumn trekking and climbing season in a bid to boost the struggling tourism sector, officials said Friday, despite coronavirus uncertainty.
The Himalayan country shut its borders in March just ahead of the busy spring season when hundreds of mountaineers usually flock to the country, costing jobs and millions of dollars in revenue.

A nationwide lockdown was lifted last week, and Nepal is now open "for tourism activities, including mountaineering and trekking." Mira Acharya of the tourism department said.

The government will permit international flights to land in the country from August 17.

The decision comes despite over 1,000 new coronavirus infections reported this week, with a total of 19,547 cases.

Autumn summits on Everest last year were thwarted by a serac -- a block of glacial ice -- hanging dangerously above the already treacherous Khumbu icefall that climbers have to cross to reach Camp 1.

Last year's traffic-clogged spring climbing season saw a record 885 people summit Everest, 644 of them from the south and 241 from the northern flank in Tibet.