Over 160 tourists stranded in Nepal due to coronavirus
About 160 trekkers, most of them from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, have been stranded across mountain regions in Nepal, including Everest, due to the lockdown authorities imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Nepal on Tuesday went under a seven-day lockdown, restricting movements to only essential services after health officials reported a second case of coronavirus in the country.
"Nearly 100 trekkers have been stranded in Lukla for the past few days. We are coordinating with the Home Ministry to obtain special permit to rescue them," said Shradha Shrestha, an official of Nepal Tourism Board.
Lukla, which lies at an altitude of 2,800 meters (9,186 feet), is the gateway to Everest, the world's highest mountain.
"We have received emails from many foreign tourists. Around 60 trekkers have been stranded in Jomsom [in north-central Nepal]," she told Anadolu Agency, and said 3-4 trekkers were waiting to be rescued from Langtang, a trekking route west of the capital Kathmandu.
Aside from complete lockdown, which came into effect on Tuesday, Nepal last week introduced a raft of measures including suspension of international and domestic flights, sealing borders with India and China to fight coronavirus.
The country, so far, has three confirmed cases of coronavirus.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 170 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.
The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 428,400 while the death toll is over 19,000 and almost 110,000 have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
Despite the rising number of cases, most who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.