Hikers will now face a vaccination warrant if they want to climb Everest
It was hoped that after months of containment, the global coronavirus pandemic would be largely behind us. But as new strains like the delta variant emerge, health officials now recognize that the virus is not something we can outrun or hide. No matter how long we spend locked inside, the virus is waiting for us on the other side. Now it comes down to how we live with a global virus and mitigate those risks. While much of Australia may still be stranded, other parts of the world are leading the way, one that gives people around the world a glimpse of what a ‘return to normal’ will look like. in the age of Covid-19 and when it comes to international travel, vaccination warrants seem to be the new necessity.
Now, it has been announced that all travelers planning to enter the Mount Everest region will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Local authorities made the decision after a disastrous period that saw dozens of hikers on the mountain fall dangerously ill with the virus, leading to the cancellation of several expeditions as the health and safety of residents was feared.
According to a statement made by local officials in late August, only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed into Nepal’s Khumbu region, where Everest is located. But as the announcement has since been read, many are wondering how locals will apply the warrant, as the statement conceded that unvaccinated people could in fact still enter the area, provided they provide a negative Covid-19 test. . For unvaccinated travelers, getting a test might be difficult.
As Outside collaborator Kraig Becker suggests, “Getting a PCR test in Khumbu is likely to be very difficult. Becker goes on to suggest that even then, it does not guarantee safety, as travelers could be tested in the window between exposure and contraction of the virus, which turned out to have negative test results only to see. people get sick with the virus several days later.
The region relies heavily on spin-off tourism from hikers seeking to climb Everest, and many believe such vaccination requirements will only benefit the local community and protect their safety. Several guiding companies and outfitters have developed their own safety protocols, requiring staff and customers to be fully immunized. Nepal has so far recorded a total of 771,000 cases of Covid and only 17% of the population is fully vaccinated. Still, the announcement serves as an indication of what many can expect from travel in the future.
Here in Australia, the federal government has announced plans to test vaccine passports for international travel. But as a new study published by the Medical Journal of Australia suggests, mandatory vaccines could be problematic and promote segregation, unless they are supported by a strong rationale prior to deployment. The main takeaway is that access to vaccines must be a priority for all Australians, otherwise there is concern that they simply reinforce the existing disadvantage. In the States, Dr Anthony Fauci has said he will support the imposition of the Covid-19 vaccine for air travel, but the US Travel Association has since maintained that there should be no mandatory vaccination requirements for domestic travel as it believes this could have unfair and negative impacts on families with young children who are not yet eligible. to get vaccinated.
It remains to be seen how things play out here in Australia, but it seems the priority going forward will be safety for all, especially disadvantaged communities who are more at risk. For anyone looking to climb Everest in the future, a vaccine should be a priority – not just for your own safety, but for those in the Khumbu region.