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9 May, 2021 18:21

China to set up ‘line of separation’ at summit of Mount Everest to protect its climbers amid Covid-19 spike in Nepal

China to set up ‘line of separation’ at summit of Mount Everest to protect its climbers amid Covid-19 spike in Nepal

Covid-19 curbs have reached the top of the world, with China saying it will create “a line of separation” at the summit of Mount Everest to prevent contact between Chinese climbers and those ascending from coronavirus-hit Nepal.

Located at an altitude of 8,849 meters (29,032 ft), the summit of the world’s tallest mountain is a small snow-covered area, which can fit barely half a dozen climbers and guides at any one time. But it seems that it’s about to get even tighter up there.

A special “separation line” will be established at the top of Everest as a precaution against the coronavirus, the head of Tibet’s Sports Bureau Nyima Tsering told the Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

Its purpose will be to prevent climbers ascending from the Tibetan and Nepalese sides of the mountain from getting together and passing on the infection. “Except the top of the mountain, the climbers have no other chance to meet up during the climb,” Tsering pointed out.

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A group of 21 Chinese mountaineers is currently heading towards the summit, and it’s planned that the “separation line” will be set up ahead of their arrival.

The official didn’t expand on what this barrier will look like, or who will be up there enforcing the restrictions at an altitude where commercial liners fly and oxygen is lacking.

The announcement comes as Nepal faces a harsh wave of the coronavirus, on Friday reporting 9,023 new cases of the disease – a daily record for the country.

The virus has also reached the base camp on the Nepalese side of Everest, where at least 17 people have been infected, according to reports earlier this month.

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After the cancellation of the 2020 climbing season, Nepal has issued a record 408 number of permits to climb the mountain this year. Meanwhile, China, which is working hard to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on its territory, banned access to the Tibetan side of Everest for foreign climbers as soon as the pandemic began.

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