Nepal open for trekking?? COVID-19 update.
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
Updated - 30th October 2020
Two weeks on from the opening of the Nepali border to foreign trekkers and mountaineers it seems few travellers are ready or able to make the trip, probably due to the COVID-19 second wave worsening in their own countries as well as the challenges in Nepal described below. There are concerns that there could be a a surge of cases in rural areas of Nepal following the Dashain holiday celebrated last week when familiy members working in Kathmandu returned to their villages. Trekking areas are desperate for business but also rightly worried about corona virus spreading to their region as was seen in the last week with the Everest region opening, shutting and then reopening after thorough precautions being put in place. See here for trekking area status.
It seems to us premature to think of trekking right now but we remain optimistic for next year. What do you think? When will you start planning your next adventure? We'd love to hear from you. Meanwhile here's a cool video to remind you of Nepal and make sure its on your post-COVID bucket list!
17th October 2020
From today 17th October Nepal is allowing tourists to enter Nepal for mountaineering expenditions and trekking. However there are some challenging conditions in order to minimize the COVID-19 risks including a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours before arrival and quarantining in a hotel in Kathmandu for 7 days with a repeat test on the 5th day. Travel insurance covering COVID is required (which may be a challenge for many where home countries are advising against travel). See here for the full details of the requirements, and this article from the Nepali Times which explains a bit more. So for those who can meet these conditions it is now possible to trek in Nepal.
Clearly there is a dilemma. The tourism industry in Nepal, including our business, is suffering and many agencies, hotels and restaurants welcome the move and are preparing for trekking to resume. However we are worried about clients coming to Nepal right now even if it is possible and though we really want to welcome you.
Corona virus cases in Nepal are increasing with about 3,000 new cases every day, currently over 38,000 active cases. Here are the current numbers as reported by the government:
Kathmandu (Bagmati province) is the current hotspot, having a third of total cases and about 2000 of the daily new cases and its hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. The distribution of new cases in the last 24 hours is below with Kathmandu province central and in the darkest colour.
While the trekking areas currently have low infections, some are restricting travel, others are nervous about trekkers bringing COVID to the area and obviously most are a long way from hospitals and good medical care.
As in most countries the situation is changing continuously. Lockdown has been lifted to help the economic problems despite the rise in infections. The festival season has started and many Nepali people travel to visit their familes which is unlikely to help. The government lacks a clear strategy and changes rules and guidance with little or no notice making planning extremely difficult.
It would be wonderful to trek at this quiet time but I hope you understand our concerns and why we think it is probably best to stay home and stay safe! But we would love to know what you think - do get in touch with us - we would really like to hear from you. We are really hoping that our Spring season will go ahead and would love to talk to you about your dreams for your next trek whenever that will be. Beat the rush and plan ahead!