COVID-19 Reaches Mount Everest As Nepal Struggles With Record Infections

The coronavirus pandemic has reached the top of the world, where it has reportedly disrupted the annual climb up Mount Everest and other Himalayan peaks just as the window for summiting the mountains opens up.

In recent days, reports have emerged of an outbreak at Everest Base Camp in Nepal, at 17,597 feet (5,364 meters), where hundreds of climbers assemble each year to adjust to the oxygen-starved altitude as they prepare to ascend the 29,032-foot (8,849-meter) peak.

The BBC and The Guardian have reported recently what climbers have anecdotally been seeing, and posting to social media — rising numbers of positive coronavirus tests and climbers with COVID-19 symptoms.

According to the BBC, base camp officials say there have been 17 confirmed cases after tests at hospitals in the capital, Kathmandu, where climbers with symptoms were sent for treatment. It said that staff at a private hospital in Kathmandu had confirmed that climbers tested positive after arriving from Mount Everest.