Nepalese authorities suspended permits to climb Mount Everest on Friday, banning climbers until 30 April due to the coronavirus infection. Nepal followed in the footsteps of China, which had halted access to the world's highest mountain a day before.
"The government has decided to suspend all spring expeditions and scrap permits for the time being. The decision can be reviewed after analysing the global scenario over the coming month", Yogesh Bhattarai, Minister for Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation told journalists.
Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office Narayan Prasad Bidari confirmed the cancellation of permits, stressing that tourist visas to the country will be halted until 30 April.
The news comes before the start of the good weather season (which usually begins in April or May) that allows mountain climbers to attempt to reach the summit. At least 885 people tried to conquer Everest last spring, and 11 of them died in the process.
In the meantime, the coronavirus continues spreading across the world, with more than 127,000 coronavirus cases confirmed in over 100 countries. The death toll is nearing 5,000, however, more than 60,000 people have managed to recover from the disease.