COVID-19 At Its ‘Peak’ As Mt Everest-Bound Climber Tests Positive

Kathmandu: The coronavirus is going places and spreading like crazy. It’s not even sparing the world’s highest mountain range.

A Mount Everest-bound Norwegian climber confirmed on Thursday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

“My diagnosis is Covid-19. I’m doing ok now… The hospital is taking care (of me),” Erlend Ness told AFP in a Facebook message.

A helicopter evacuated Ness from the slopes and he was then taken from the Everest base camp and hospitalized in Kathmandu.

According to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, a sherpa accompanying Ness and others has also tested positive.

“I really hope that none of the others get infected with coronavirus high up in the mountains. It is impossible to evacuate people with a helicopter when they’re above 8,000 metres,” Ness told NRK.

“The plan was to get high up in the mountains fast to make sure that we don’t get infected… I’ve been unlucky and I could have done more when it comes to sanitary precautions,” Ness added.

A spokesperson for Nepal’s tourism department, however, said that it had not yet received any reports of COVID-positive cases among climbers.

“A person was evacuated but we were informed that he is suffering from pneumonia and is being treated in isolation. That is all the information we have received,” said Mira Acharya.

Nepal was hoping for a bumper mountaineering season after the pandemic had wiped out last year’s season. But the fresh wave of infections, especially in neighbouring India, is bound to deal a blow to its plans.

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