China announced on Sunday that it will partition Mount Everest due to rising COVID-19 cases in Nepal.
According to multiple media reports, Beijing, which has expressed concerns about the spread of the coronavirus around the world’s highest peak since the first outbreaks in late 2019, plans to create “a line of separation” at the summit to keep climbers from Tibet from mingling with those who ascended the Nepalese side.
The New York Times reported that China has only approved 21 permits to climb the mountain this year amid the pandemic. Nepal has already approved a record number of 408 permits to climb Everest, even though several base campers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Head of the Tibet Sports Bureau Nyima Tsering told state news that a group of Chinese nationals is currently on its way to the summit to set up the partition.
State news agency Xinhua also reported that China will set checkpoints outside of its base camp where climbers will undergo temperature checks, disinfection and isolation from others.
Nepal on Friday reported 9,023 new cases of the coronavirus, according to CNN, its highest single-day total.