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International Everest expedition abandoned after growing Covid cases in base camp

An international expedition abandoned its attempt to scale Mount Everest, citing risks posed by an increasing number of COVID-19 cases at the base camp, The Himalayan Times reported

May 19, 2021
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Everest

An international expedition abandoned its attempt to scale Mount Everest, citing risks posed by an increasing number of COVID-19 cases at the base camp, The Himalayan Times reported. Some climbers were evacuated from Everest base camp in April after they fell ill with COVID-19 symptoms as Nepal battles a brutal second wave of infections.

Lukas Furtenbach, of Austrian expedition organizing company Furtenbach Adventures, said his team of climbers from America, Norway, Israel, Germany, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg and Romania were abandoning the climb for safety reasons as the number of COVID-19 infections at the base camp was increasing.

"To climb ... with these massively increasing coronavirus numbers and risk the lives of our 20 climbers, 4 mountain guides and 27 Sherpas carelessly, would be irresponsible," Furtenbach said in a statement.

Department of Tourism Director Mira Acharya said she had no information of any expedition evacuating due to COVID-19 fears.

"Doctors at the base camp said the situation was not as serious as it was reported," she told Reuters.

The Himalayan nation, which earns millions of dollars from climbers every year, closed the mountain in March 2020 due to the pandemic, but reopened for this year's climbing season that started in April.

It issued a record 408 permits to climbers attempting to scale the 8,848.86-metre (29,031.69-foot) peak.

Acharya said more than 150 people had climbed the mountain this month and others were waiting for a new weather window to open up. Two climbers died of exhaustion on the mountain this week, the report said.

(SAM)

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