May 10, 2021

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Mount Everest Covid-19 outbreak ‘sees dozens of climbers evacuated from base camp’


Mount Everest Covid-19 outbreak ‘sees dozens of climbers evacuated from base camp’

  • Dozens of climbers have reportedly been evacuated from Mount Everest 
  • Claims that the Covid-19 situation on the mountain has deteriorated  
  •  It comes after the first known case of the virus was documented on April 15
  • British climber Steve Harris’s planned two-month expedition was cut short  

The Covid-19 outbreak at Mount Everest Base Camp has seen dozens of climbers evacuated from base camp, it has been claimed. 

It comes after the first known case of the virus was documented at the mountain’s base camp on April 15. 

The situation has apparently deteriorated, with reports that over 30 climbers have been forced to evacuate via helicopter. 

The Covid-19 outbreak at Mount Everest Base Camp has seen dozens of climbers evacuated from base camp, it has been claimed.  File image of Mount Everest's Base Camp above

The Covid-19 outbreak at Mount Everest Base Camp has seen dozens of climbers evacuated from base camp, it has been claimed.  File image of Mount Everest’s Base Camp above 

British climber Steve Harris’s planned two-month expedition was cut short when he was diagnosed with High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), a potentially fatal form of severe high-altitude illness, at Base Camp on April 20 and flown to the village of Namche Bazaar. 

Speaking to MailOnline, he said: ‘I was initially diagnosed with HAPE at Everest Base Camp and flown to Namche Bazaar to recover. 

‘I wasn’t asked about or offered a Covid-19 test. After four days in Namche, I was medivac by helicopter to hospital in Kathmandu where I was tested and confirmed positive for Covid-19 and pneumonia and spent a week in intensive care.

‘I have been released from hospital but am still having to isolate in a hotel as I am still positive for Covid.’ 

He added that prior to his evacuation there were ‘rumours’ of Covid-19 in camp but nothing had been confirmed. 

‘Social distancing and masks weren’t really being enforced,’ he said.   

The incident meant Harris, a property developer from York, was forced to abandon his plans to summit Mount Everest before climbing K2 in June. 

Writing in a blog post from hospital on April 29, he said: ‘As quick as the idea that I could go back up the mountain and try again pops in my head I dismiss it, the mountain will wait and my wife has been through enough for 2021 but one things for sure, one day, maybe next year maybe the year after I’ll get to the top of that mountain.’ 

Gina Marie Han-Lee, a climber from New York, said she was evacuated from base camp last week after being diagnosed with altitude sickness before testing positive for Covid-19.  

Taking to Facebook on April 29, she wrote: ‘Once I was in the hospital [in Kathmandu] a covid test confirmed I was positive and had pneumonia. I’ve spent four nights in the ICU.’ 

In this file photo taken on September 14, 2013 Mount Everest is seen from an aircraft over Nepal

In this file photo taken on September 14, 2013 Mount Everest is seen from an aircraft over Nepal

According to Polish climber Pawel Michalski, over 30 people have already been evacuated from Mount Everest to Kathmandu. 

Nepali journalist Rojita Adhikari tweeted on April 30 that the Nepali Government ‘is still denying’ that there has been a Covid-19 outbreak on Everest. 

‘The Nepal Government is still denying there is a COVID outbreak at Everest base camp, despite emerging evidence,’ she wrote.  

‘I tested positive soon after I returned from the camp. Why is the government hiding the truth ? Why are they putting hundreds of climbers at risk? For tourism money?’

Climbers were allowed to return to the mountain last month for the first time since the pandemic hit. 

Mountaineers and government officials stated climbers will be scaling the peak under Covid-19 restrictions. 

The climbing season restarted on the world’s greatest mountain in April after it was forced to close to climbers for a year due to the pandemic,

Over 300 climbers are predicted to attempt to scale the mountain, which stands at 29,032 feet (8,848.86 meters), this season, compared to 381 climbers, who attempted to climb it in the same period in 2019.

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