In Nepal, oxygen cylinders from Mount Everest could soon be used by Covid patients.


As hospitals in Nepal pressure to deal with one of many world’s fastest-growing coronavirus outbreaks, aid teams within the Himalayan nation are asking mountain climbers handy over their used oxygen cylinders in order that they’ll be refilled for Covid-19 sufferers.

The uncommon attraction displays the unusual duality in Nepal: While tons of of international climbers are trying pricey expeditions to the summits of Mount Everest and different peaks, the impoverished nation down under is going through pressing shortages of hospital beds, medical oxygen, coronavirus check kits and different provides.

Expedition operators are getting ready to airlift 1000’s of cylinders from the Himalayas as expeditions are accomplished this month, the fruits of the climbing season. Kul Bahadur Gurung, common secretary of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, estimated that tour corporations would be in a position to present not less than 4,000 cylinders by the primary week of June.

“We are asking them not to leave even a single oxygen cylinder in the mountains,” Mr. Gurung stated.

Climbers making an attempt to achieve the highest of Everest, the world’s tallest peak, and different mountains carry oxygen to assist them breathe within the skinny air. Although Nepal prohibits leaving tools behind within the mountains, canisters are typically left buried in the snow by exhausted climbers or stashed by expedition corporations for later use.

Cylinders used in mountaineering are smaller to these usually present in intensive-care wards, however Mahabir Pun, a distinguished Nepali scientist who helps to guide the cylinder drive, stated that they could be used by sufferers who can not discover a hospital mattress or who’re being handled at dwelling.

“I.C.U. beds are already filled with critical Covid patients, so we want to distribute these portable expedition cylinders with regulators for those patients staying in home isolation,” Mr. Pun stated.

Nepal’s outbreak has surged in current weeks, almost definitely fueled by the virus’s catastrophic surge in India, with which it shares a protracted, porous border. On May 1, Nepal reported 26 deaths from the virus. On Tuesday, the official loss of life toll was 225.

Doctors say that a shortage of medical oxygen is a think about lots of the deaths. Many hospitals have stopped admitting new Covid-19 sufferers, citing an absence of oxygen. Wealthy households are airlifting their family members by chartered helicopter to cities the place they’ll discover intensive-care beds. Other sufferers are being handled in makeshift emergency amenities arrange in parking heaps and different open areas.

With nearly half of Nepal’s coronavirus checks coming again constructive, well being consultants warn that the worst is but to come back.

China has pledged to offer Nepal with 20,000 oxygen cylinders and 100 ventilators, the primary batch of which arrived on Tuesday.

Expedition corporations are stepping in with smaller donations. Mr. Gurung’s group stated that he was sending 5 dozen cylinders, together with just a few extra from a neighborhood mountaineering museum, to hospitals treating coronavirus sufferers.

Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summit Treks, Nepal’s largest expeditions operator, stated that he deliberate to ship as many as 500 cylinders used in expeditions to Everest and different peaks soon after climbers descended to base camps.

“My only condition is that those cylinders should be used for poor and helpless people rather than V.I.P.s,” he stated, including: “It’s our responsibility to help the government during these trying times. We will do it happily.”



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