China opens Everest’s north side to 38 virus-tested climbers

BEIJING (AP) — China has opened Mount Everest’s northern slope to a few dozen mountaineers who will be tested for the coronavirus and must keep their distance while ascending the world’s highest peak. Both Nepal and China closed the mountain to foreign climbers last year because of the pandemic. Nepal has allowed in foreign climbers this season despite a surging COVID-19 outbreak, and at least one climber has confirmed he was infected. China has largely contained domestic transmission but has maintained health checks and other measures. State media said the 38 people who were issued Chinese permits must come from low-risk parts of China and have a clean bill of health. They will be provided masks, thermometers and disinfectant.