Kathmandu [Nepal] May 13 (ANI): Days after the Nepal government refuted reports of COVID-19 cases in mountain base camps, an expedition organizer in the Himalayan nation has said that there have been coronavirus cases among climbers and members of expedition teams this season.
Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summit Treks, Nepal's largest expedition agency which this year sent highest number of expedition teams, said there are positive cases but not with severe symptoms.
"Many of the climbers tested positive, their report now is negative and they have returned back to the mountains again. There are no serious cases (of coronavirus) in the mountains as of now. There are positive cases but not serious and nobody has died there due to the virus," Sherpa told ANI.
Nepal's Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation had earlier denied reports of infection among mountaineers as the second wave of the pandemic has hit the Himalayan nation.
In a press statement on May 7, it said that no COVID-19 case has been reported among climbers to Mount Everest.
"Concerned communication officers have been assigned and stationed in the area. Communication officers are in contact with the group leaders and have been constantly surveying situation there. They haven't confirmed any (COVID-19) case or condition of existing threat out there," it said.
The ministry had urged the media to only disseminate information that comes from official channels as other reports might create panic and fear among climbers as well as their families.
Over a dozen climbers have been evacuated in the last few weeks from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu after they developed symptoms like COVID-19. They later tested positive for COVID-19.
Nepal has issued record number of permits to climbers this year despite the ravaging pandemic. After Everest, Dhaulagiri base camp had reported cases of COVID-19. (ANI)