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China to enforce social distancing on peak of Mount Everest

At least you won’t have to check in with a QR Code

China has revealed that it will enforce its border on the peak of Mount Everest, as a precaution against climbers transmitting the Coronavirus when they reach the summit.

As pointed out in an article run by State-controlled organ Xinhua, the border between Nepal and China runs across Mount Everest.

Sadly, coronavirus has reached Nepal and the Everest base camp located in the Himalayan nation.

But as Xinhua points out, the main routes used to reach Everest’s summit start in either China or Nepal and don’t meet until the summit.

China can’t control what happens on the Nepalese side of the mountain. But as it worries about infection on the summit, Xinhua says China has sent “a small team composed of Tibetan mountaineering guides in advance to set up a separation line on the side of the peak and prohibit any personnel (including small teams) on the north and south slopes from being on the top of the peak.”

China says enforcing its border is necessary even though climbers who make it to the summit are already, helpfully, wearing oxygen masks and gloves.

It’s expected that the annual “summit season” during which conditions on Everest become merely perilous, as opposed to the more usual almost-certainly-deadly, will commence in mid-May and that climbers will quickly swarm the mountain. Most that make the attempt will come from Nepal, as just 21 climbers are expected from the Chinese side this season.

Those that climb from China will find an epidemic prevention checkpoint 300m from base camp, and many other precautions besides. They’ll also find the route to the summit has been repaired to an altitude of 8,300 meters, 550m short of the summit. ®

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