Everest Climber Tests Positive for COVID after Expeditions Resumed

A Norwegian climber, Erlend Ness, revealed Thursday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in Nepal, just weeks after Mount Everest reopened for mountaineering season. 

After spending time at the Everest base camp, Ness was evacuated from the slopes by helicopter and taken to a hospital in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. 

A sherpa in his party also tested positive, Ness told Norwegian broadcaster, NRK, in an interview. 

“I really hope 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 (26,000 feet),” Ness told NRK. 

As a country reliant on the income generated from Everest expeditions, the outbreak is a blow to Nepal. According to Katmandu Post, Nepal earns $4m (£3.1m) each year from issuing Everest climbing permits alone. 

Ness revealed to BBC that he is not exactly sure where or when he caught the virus, but mentioned the possibility of catching it while visiting one of the tea houses along the Khumbu Valley. 

“Not many people used the masks on the trek,” He explained. Ness added that he “could have done more” to protect himself from the virus, including hand washing more and wearing a mask all day. He admitted to BBC that he had felt sick for six days prior to being evacuated by helicopter April 15. 

He was taken to two different hospitals in Kathmandu, testing positive for COVID-19 three separate times. Ness has since recovered from the virus, testing negative April 22. He is now staying with friends in the city. 

According to Katmandu Post, Nepal earns $4m (£3.1m) each year from issuing Everest climbing permits alone. 

Nepal’s Department of Immigration announced that all travelers entering Nepal must now present a negative COVID-19 report, taken within two 72 hours of their first flight. 

Passengers from countries with new COVID-19 variants will be subjected to an additional 10 days of hotel quarantine. If a test comes back ergative after five days, they will be allowed to spend their remaining five days of quarantine inside a home. 

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