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China will set up a “dividing line” at the top of Mont Everest to avoid possible Covid-19 infections from mountaineers in the virus-stricken Nepal, state media reported, after dozens of people were sick from the summit base camp.

AFP reports that while the virus first appeared in China in late 2019, it has been largely brought under control in the country thanks to a series of strict lockdowns and border closures.

More than 30 sick climbers have been evacuated from base camp on the Nepalese side of the world’s highest peak in recent weeks as Nepal faces a deadly second wave, raising fears the virus could ruin an exceptional climbing season.

Mount Everest straddles the Sino-Nepalese border, the northern slope belonging to China.

Tibetan authorities told reporters at a press conference that they would take “the strictest epidemic prevention measures” to avoid contact between climbers on the northern and southern slopes or at the summit, reported Sunday. the official Xinhua News Agency.

The mountain guides will establish demarcation lines at the top of the mountain before allowing the climbers to begin the grueling ascent, the head of the Tibet Mountaineering Association said as quoted by Xinhua.

The official did not provide details on the composition of the divides.

Twenty-one Chinese climbers have been allowed to climb to the top of Everest this year after quarantining themselves in Tibet since early April, the official added.

The Chinese side will also step up virus control measures at the Chinese base camp on the north side of the mountain, with non-climbing tourists in the Everest scenic region banned from entering.

China has banned foreign nationals from climbing Everest since last year due to the virus outbreak.

But this year, Nepal issued a record number of climbing permits to try and boost visitors after its tourism industry suffered a devastating blow until 2020 from the pandemic.

A single Nepal Everest permit costs $ 11,000 and climbers pay over $ 40,000 for an expedition.

Over a thousand people are typically camping in the bustling tent city at the foot of Everest on the Nepalese side at all times, including foreign climbers and the Nepalese guide teams escorting them to the top.

Over the past three weeks, the daily trajectory of cases in Nepal has increased with two in five people tested who have now returned HIV-positive as infections spill over from the deadly second wave from neighboring India.

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