If you’re intending on a trek to Everest Base Camp this fall—or anywhere else in Nepal’s Everest region. The local officials have imposed some new regulations that you should know. However, tourist officials are muddying the waters with their message on vaccine needs, which may or may not be necessary depending on previous proclamations in the Himalayan country.
COVID-19 vaccine is now obligatory for all visitors, wishing to trek to Everest Base Camp, according to local authorities. The new rules come after a disastrous spring in which dozens of trekkers on the mountain became infected. So, it made to cancel many expeditions.
The local authority published a statement on 23rd August 2021. It allows only fully vaccinated trekkers to trek to Everest Base Camp and the entire Everest region. They admitted unvaccinated people could join as long as they provide PCR negative results. This remains still unclear because the Nepal Government imposed quarantine provisions while entering Nepal. Unvaccinated travelers may have difficulties getting COVID — 19 tests.
While obtaining a PCR test in the Khumbu is likely to prove very challenging, it does not ensure safety. It is possible to test travelers between exposure and contracting the virus. It means they’d get negative results and fall sick several days later.
Coronavirus in Everest Base Camp
When the pandemic began in March 2020, travel to Nepal came to a shrieking halt. This maintained the Everest region relatively resilient to the virus, preventing it from spreading too widely. However, this past spring, climbing and trekking expeditions resumed, and the surge of tourists carried COVID to the Himalayas. Villages were severely impacted, and many people were ill, making life tough for both residents and foreign travelers.
Nepal’s government adopted an uneven COVID-19 response during the pandemic. It originally tried to downplay COVID-19’s impact on Everest. However, it imposed restrictions on travel, including requiring a negative test upon arrival, a quarantine period, and a second negative test.
Because of the Delta strain, Coronavirus cases in Nepal, as well as many other countries, have soared in the last month. Nepal reports 775,000 COVID cases so far, with only 17 percent of the overall population inoculated. Local officials claim that 98 percent of residents over the age of 18 get the full course of the vaccine in the Everest region. The goal is to prevent another large-scale outbreak while continuing to reopen to travelers. You should need to get the vaccine anyway, even if you have no plans to go to Everest Base Camp Trek soon.
Kumar Lama, founder of a small adventure company in Nepal, worries about the new requirements. It will, of course, suffer the same destiny. The authorities appear to take the COVID testing seriously; he said. But he didn’t hear of anyone having to quarantine because of a positive test. He also didn’t see the vaccine requirement enforced in the two weeks since the announcement.
Will requiring vaccines help?
Even if requiring vaccines for all tourists makes sense, it’s easy to be suspicious in Nepal. Remember, this is the same place where all climbers arriving in the spring-applied quarantine rules. It was quickly forgotten as the season began. The result was devastating for many of those at Everest Base Camp, as well as for the entire country.
Nepal has a long history of establishing new rules and regulations. They are not very effective at implementing such rules and regulations, though. Will this time be any different? What the future brings will have to wait and see.
Expeditions Companies offer guided tours with their safety protocols. Many outfitters, such as No Road Expeditions, Snowland Journeys, and Around The World Travel in Holland, require vaccines for both staff and customers. For the same reason, Snowland Journeys had to cancel their autumn season because of the Delta variants.
The founder of Snowland Journeys, Zara Balfour, complained about how the regional vaccine requirement will be implemented, but she considers it as a significant step, particularly for the regional economy. “Every rule or safety protocol that is put in place is good and crucial since it will enhance the tourism industry,” she said.
At Himalayan Exploration, we adhere to Nepal Government, public health, and Covid – 19 safety and health guideline while operating our expeditions.