China says it will create a "line of separation" atop Mount Everest to keep climbers from Nepal from possibly spreading COVID-19 among climbers climbing from Chinese-controlled Tibet.
21 Chinese climbers will scale the world's highest peak sometime this year to establish the dividing line, according to State-run Xinhua News Agency. However, it is unclear how the climbers will mark the line, especially at the peak, which is a small, narrow area where only a handful of climbers can spend just a few minutes at a time to enjoy the view, the report said.
Mount Everest straddles the border between China and Nepal, with the mountain's north slope on the Chinese side and the south slope on the Nepalese side. While Beijing has banned foreign climbers since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Nepalese government has begun issuing climbing permits in an effort to revitalize tourism revenue.
But Nepal is currently mired in a surge of new coronavirus infections and deaths in recent weeks, mirroring the catastrophic deadly wave in neighboring India. According to the latest government data, Nepal reported 8,777 COVID cases Sunday, 30 times higher than numbers recorded in April Reuters reported. The country has so far reported a total caseload of 394,667 cases and 3,720 deaths.