The countdown is running. On 17 October, eight days from now, the first mountain tourists are to be allowed to enter Nepal. The most controversial regulation of the corona protocol for visitors from abroad is now supposed to be dropped: the obligatory one-week quarantine in hotels in Kathmandu.
The usually well-informed newspaper “The Himalayan Times” (THT) reports, citing sources in the Ministry of Tourism, that a round of ministers has approved a corresponding proposal. Instead of a quarantine of at least seven days with another corona test on the fifth day, mountaineers and trekking tourists should now have an instant PCR test or an antigen test directly at the airport. The presentation of a negative test taken in the tourist’s home country, which must not be older than 72 hours, remains mandatory.
Details to be announced shortly
Allegedly, the government also refrains from demanding foreign health insurance for at least $5,000 upon entry. However, according to THT, the tourists will have to declare that they themselves or their tour operator will bear the cost of treatment in the event of a COVID-19 infection in Nepal.
Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai merely confirmed to the THT that the concerns of the industry had been taken into account. After consultations with the corona crisis management center, the revised protocol, which will be binding for those entering Nepal from 17 October, will be published in the next few days, says Bhattarai.
More than 100,000 corona infections
At present, there is no corona all-clear in Nepal, quite the contrary. The number of infections registered since the outbreak of the pandemic has now exceeded the 100,000 mark.
On Thursday alone, 4,363 new infections were added, more than ever before in one day in Nepal. To date, 600 people have died of COVID-19 in the Himalayan state. And the number of unreported cases is likely to be high. Against this background, it is unlikely that many mountaineers and trekking tourists will come to the Himalayan state this fall – mandatory quarantine or not.
Mountaineer from Bahrain at Manaslu Base Camp
The Royal Guard expedition team from Bahrain, which is already in the country with a special permit, has now moved to the base camp on Manaslu at 4,800 meters. Sherpas of the Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks have secured the route with fixed ropes up to Camp 4 on the summit plateau, 7,400 meters high. If the weather plays along, there should be a first summit attempt next week. With an altitude of 8,163 meters Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain on earth.