Mount Everest has been shut down for the remainder of the expedition season as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Officials in Nepal announced they would be cancelling all climbing permits from tomorrow, March 14, until April 30.
This comes after China previously decided to cancel all expeditions coming from the northern side of the mountain, which is controlled by China.
Nepal earns up to $4 million (£3.1 million) by issuing climbing permits each year, on top of other tourism revenue, according to reports, so the closing of the mountain will no doubt have huge effects on the region’s income.
Narayan Prasad Bidari, secretary of the Prime Minister’s office, told BBC News:
We have decided to halt all tourist visas until 30 April.
As of now, all issued permits and permits yet to be issued for the 2020 Everest season will be cancelled.
Government advisers also told foreigners who were unable to avoid coming to Nepal from March 14 to stay in quarantine for 14 days.
The majority of people who travel to Nepal to climb Everest come from the United States, India, China, Japan, UK and South Korea, generating large sums of revenue for the Nepalese government.
That’s because anyone who wants to climb the highest mountain on Earth must pay the government an eye-watering $11,000 (£8,700) for the privilege. There has even been talk of raising that figure even higher in recent months.
And the expense doesn’t stop there – as climbers also need to shell out fees to the travel companies, which can also cost climbers thousands.
Sadly, the closure of the mountain is likely to mostly affect local sherpas, who work as mountain guides for tourists.
Lakpa Sherpa, managing director of Pioneer Adventure, told BBC Nepali:
My nine Chinese clients and a Japanese client have cancelled already. Many trekking teams are not coming, which is a big loss for sherpas like us who make most of our money during this time.
At the time of writing, there is just one confirmed case of coronavirus in Nepal, however the country borders with India, where more than 70 cases have been confirmed.
Residents in Nepal have been asked by the government to avoid mass gatherings, including marriages and public functions, until the outbreak calms.
More than 100,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide, according to figures provided by the World Health Organization.
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