The government of China Monday announced it will be reinforcing its patrolling of the Himalayan Nepalese border, particularly near or around Mount Everest to prevent the coronavirus from entering the country through climbers.
To achieve that goal and although the borders have been practically closed since March 2020, China will install a border demarcation line on top of Mt Everest, the Chinese press reported.
China, the first country to hit the pandemic in December 2019, largely contained the disease since spring 2020 and now fears a return of infections from abroad.
Although the borders have been practically closed since March 2020, China intends to extend its vigilance to the snowy peak in the Himalayas, the mountain range it shares with Nepal.
The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said that the director of the Tibetan Mountaineering Association announced at a press conference that mountain guides will establish a demarcation line at the top, before allowing climbing on the Chinese side, although the press reports fell short of releasing any further details as to how exactly would China go about the task of controlling the world's highest mountain, at 8,848 meters above sea level, which belongs to its territory, and where only a few mountaineers can stay at any one time.
Nepal Mountaineering Association President Santa Bir Lama, expressed his doubts on the matter: I am not aware of the decision but there is only one summit and it would be practically impossible to create a separation between climbers on both sides, he said.
Tibetan officials quoted by Xinhua assured that they will take the strictest measures to prevent the epidemic to avoid contact with mountaineers who practice climbing from the southern face in Nepal.
Since the start of the season, Nepal has already carried out more than 30 medical evacuations, some of them due to the coronavirus, in the base camp located at 5,364 meters above sea level.
Nepal, a small country with an area of 147,516 km² neighboring India, is seriously affected by the second wave of coronavirus, just as it planned to reactivate tourism that in 2020 was reduced to zero.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country of fewer than 29 million inhabitants has recorded more than 394,600 cases of coronavirus and 3,720 deaths from the disease.
China, with more than 1,300 million inhabitants, registers just over 102,600 infections and 4,646 deaths.