Covid oxygen shortage: Everest climbers asked to return canisters

The coronavirus situation in Nepal is still dire. Now the county has asked climbers who are braving the ascent of Mount Everest to bring back their empty oxygen containers instead of leaving them on the mountain.

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The country issued permits to 408 people to climb Mount Everest this season between April and May to help bring back mountaineering and tourism, Reuters reported.

It is estimated that climbers and their Sherpa guides have taken at least 3,500 oxygen bottles on their treks this season. Usually, they’re left on the trail at the end of the expedition or lost in avalanches.

“We appeal to climbers and Sherpas to bring back their empty bottles wherever possible, as they can be refilled and used for the treatment of coronavirus patients who are in dire need,” Kul Bahadur Gurung, a senior official with The Nepal Mountaineering Association, told Reuters.

Hospitals in Kathmandu can’t take patients because they are experiencing a shortage of both oxygen and canisters.

Nepal has seen a total of 394,667 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, with 3,720 deaths. Sunday, the country had 8,777 infections or 30 times that of the same day last month, Reuters reported.

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