Nepal closes Mount Everest for climbers amid coronavirus fears

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International media reports say Nepal has closed all of its Himalayan peaks including Mount Everest this climbing season because of fears of the coronavirus outbreak,

Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai was cited as saying on Friday that expeditions to all peaks in the March-May spring season had been suspended.

Asked if the closure was because of the coronavirus, he said: “It is as a precaution for that.”

Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest, earns about $4.4 million a year in permit fees from climbers aiming to scale the world’s highest peak and other mountains, according to Reuters.

The suspension of expeditions in Nepal will affect hundreds of foreign climbers now preparing for the spring season, a window or relatively good weather between the end of the bitterly cold winter and the rainy season, which begins in June.

Everest rises to a height of 8,850 meters on the border between Nepal and the Chinese region of Tibet. China reportedly announced the closure of its side of the mountain on Thursday.

Source: Asia Plus