Everest climbers continue despite COVID reports

Climbers are continuing to scale Mount Everest like normal, according to a Nepali government official, despite reports of a COVID outbreak at the base camp of the world's tallest mountain.

Lukas Furtenbach of the Austrian Furtenbach Adventures company evacuated his team from the mountain this month:

"So far we have about 100 confirmed cases in Everest base camp, confirmed by doctors, by hospitals, by insurance companies, by expedition leaders, by helicopter pilots who are flying out the patients and of course by the climbers themselves that have been confirmed PCR tested in Kathmandu."

But authorities have been downplaying it. The Department of Tourism says it has received no notice of an outbreak there.

Rudra Singh Tamang, the director-general of the agency, and says if an outbreak was confirmed no activities would be possible.

"In Nepal, mountaineering activities are continuing normally. Even today, a team is in the final stages of climbing Everest. We have had successful ascents in the two windows so far and one team is waiting until May 29 for another window."

In April, a Norwegian climber was evacuated from the base camp of the nearly 30,000 foot mountain and flown to Kathmandu, where he tested positive.

Nepal, which receives millions of dollars in income from climbers every year, issued 408 climbing permits for Everest for the April-May climbing season this year, after closing the peak last year due to the pandemic.

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