Coronavirus fears prompt Nepal to close Everest access, reports say

Concerns about coronavirus have prompted Nepalese authorities to close access to Mt. Everest, according to reports.

Citing an unnamed government official, The Kathmandu Post reports that officials have ended all spring climbing expeditions, including Everest ascents.

The famous mountain can be climbed from its northern side, which is in Chinese-administered Tibet, as well as its southern side in Nepal. The decision by Nepalese officials to close access to the mountain follows a similar reported move by their Chinese counterparts earlier this week.

CORONAVIRUS FEARS HAVE PROMPTED CHINA TO CLOSE EVEREST ACCESS VIA TIBET, CLIMBERS SAY

The March-May climbing season is when weather conditions are best for climbing the Himalayan mountain.

A line of climbers attempts to stand at the summit of Mount Everest - file photo.

A line of climbers attempts to stand at the summit of Mount Everest - file photo. (Nimsdai Project Possible via AP)

“This is disappointing news for both our expedition leaders and our clients who have trained for months for this year’s climb,” said Lukas Furtenbach, climber and CEO of the guided expedition company Furtenbach Adventures, in a statement emailed to Fox News Thursday. “At Furtenbach, we continue to emphasize safety and wellbeing above all us, so we understand the dire consequences a Covid-19 outbreak at base camp would have. Sadly, we have to agree that this is a responsible call to make right now.”

Fox News has reached out to Nepal’s Department of Immigration with a request for comment on this story.

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Coronavirus fears had already prompted officials in Nepal to implement immigration restrictions on visitors from a number of countries.

Nepal issued a record 381 permits to climb Everest in 2019, up from 347 in 2018 when 563 climbers scaled the peak from Nepal.

In recent years, overcrowding on Mt. Everest has become a major concern as growing numbers of climbers attempt to scale the deadly mountain.

MOUNT EVEREST GETS PLASTICS BAN AS OFFICIALS BATTLE GARBAGE PILEUP ON THE FAMOUS PEAK: REPORT

Last year the BBC reported that melting glaciers on Mount Everest are revealing the bodies of dead climbers, sparking concern from the organizers of expeditions to the famous peak.

Officials in Nepal concerned about trash on Mount Everest are implementing a ban on single-use plastics at the famous mountain, according to an AFP report.

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Everest’s trash problem has been in the spotlight recently. In June 2019 officials confirmed that a cleanup campaign on the mountain had removed over 24,000 pounds of garbage. The 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit remains littered, they said.

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj, Travis Fedschun, Andrew O’Reilly and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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