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Coronavirus reaches world’s highest peak

The reopening of Mount Everest takes a hard hit with Covid boxes

At least one mountaineer on Mount Everest has tested positive for Covid-19 just weeks after the world’s highest peak was reopened to climbers after a year of closure.

Norwegian climber Erlend Ness was isolated in hospital for eight nights because of the virus, he told the BBC.

Reports indicate that a sherpa in his party had also tested positive for the virus.

The epidemic is a blow to Nepal, which depends heavily on the income generated by the Everest expeditions.

Mr Ness is not sure where he could have caught the virus, but raised the possibility of catching it at one of the teahouses in the Khumbu Valley.

He added that he could have “done more” to protect himself, such as washing his hands more diligently and wearing a mask all day.

“Few people used masks during the trek,” recalled Mr. Ness, who had been feeling ill for about six days in the mountains before being evacuated on April 15 by helicopter.

He was taken to two different hospitals in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, and tested positive for the virus three times.

He has since recovered – tested negative on April 22 – and is now staying with friends in the city.

Hundreds of foreign climbers are expected to attempt the climb this spring, which began in April, after the slopes were closed due to the pandemic.

Besides the broader tourism income, Nepal earns $ 4 million (£ 3.1 million) by issuing climbing permits for Everest each year, according to the Kathmandu Post.

All travelers entering Nepal must submit a negative Covid report, taken within 72 hours of their first flight, according to Nepal’s Immigration Ministry.

Passengers in counties with new Covid variants will be subject to an additional 10 days of hotel quarantine. If a test turns out negative after five days, they will be allowed to spend the remaining five days in home quarantine.

BBC Waiyee Yip reporting.

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