The China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA), the governing body that issues permits for climbing the Mount Everest and for all travels across the Tibetan plateau has announced the world’s highest mountain shut because of Coronavirus. By Kumar Shree
We are all aware of how the Coronavirus has brought the world to a halt. The new entrant to the club is the Mount Everest. Reports suggest that nobody would be allowed to climb the Everest this spring. While the move may come across as a disappointment to those planning a climb this spring, it further reinstates the gravity of the situation. Given that the mountain sits far from the masses and the people taking up the summit are some of the fittest individuals on the planet, the decision of having the Mt Everest shut is alarming.
The decision by the CTMA came right after Nepal declared its decision of imposing a ban on all climbing expeditions in the country, this spring. Apart from this, Nepal is no more issuing visa-on-arrival as this suspension will remain in place till April 30, 2020.
The move can be seen as a far-sighted one given that the Coronavirus is highly contagious and the trekkers often share spaces on their way up and down. If even one of them happens to have the virus, it’ll most likely affect the rest. Apart from that, Nepal also has a poor medical infrastructure with only 0.7 physicians per 1,000 people, that’s less than one doctor for 1,000 people. Nepal also has almost three family generations living together in most of the houses, which in case of an outbreak, will make the elders open to a great amount of risk.
Keeping all of these factors in mind, it is a wise decision to have the Mt Everest shut temporarily. Of course, it’ll also harm the country’s economy, but that can surely be tackled later. The focus at the moment should be on keeping the Coronavirus as much in control as possible and Nepal is certainly taking tough but right steps.