Covid-19: Nepal reopens mountains for autumn expeditions

The country closed its borders in March, just before the peak of the tourist season, when it is customary for thousands of hikers and climbers to travel to the Himalayas.

The pandemic-led decision cost the Nepalese economy millions of dollars and led many citizens to unemployment.

Mountain expeditions between September and November are much more difficult than those in the spring, due to lower winds and temperatures, so there are always fewer attempts to climb the highest peaks in those months.

National confinement was suspended last week and Nepal has now decided to open doors “to tourist activities, including mountaineering and hiking,” said Mira Acharya, of Nepal's Ministry of Tourism.

International flights to Nepal, however, will only resume from 17 August.

The “reopening” of the Nepalese mountains takes place in a week when the country has again registered more than a thousand cases of coronavirus infections, totaling 19,547 patients since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to Mira Acharia, the authorities continue to insist on health security protocols and, in particular, on the quarantine that tourists will have to do when they arrive in the country.

Expeditions to the mountains of Nepal were canceled, as climbers and support teams tend to live in “great promiscuity”, setting up tents very close to each other and sharing materials and food.

On the other hand, altitude makes breathing difficult, aggravating the medical risks of infections.

Nepal received 1.2 million visitors last year, about a third of which during the autumn tourist season, according to official figures.

The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 673,000 deaths and infected more than 17.3 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report by the French agency AFP.

The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.

After Europe succeeded China as the center of the pandemic in February, the American continent is now the one with the most confirmed cases and the most deaths.

PMC // ANP

Covid-19: Nepal reopens mountains for autumn expeditions appears first in Vision.

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