One of the world's most remote destinations has now developed a Covid-19 hotspot, according to operators of Everest expeditions, although the Nepalese government has denied the disease has reached the world's tallest peak.
Lukas Furtenbach of Austria, the first and perhaps only professional outfitter to call off his expedition because of fears of the virus, told the Associated Press that one one of his foreign guides and six Nepali Sherpa guides had tested positive. He also said that there are "at least 100 people minimum positive for Covid in base camp," and might be more. He based his estimate on observing people who appeared sick and were coughing.
Climbing season for Everest was canceled last year because of the pandemic, but this year 408 permits were issued. The expeditions and base camp also involve several hundred guides and support staff. According to Furtenbach, except for a few groups such as his, no one brought testing materials to check.
Fears of the large virus surge acknlowledge elsewhere in Nepal led China last week to cancel climbing from its side of the mountain for fear of virus spreading through contact on the mountain.