The Nepalese government announced on Friday it will cancel all climbing permits for Everest as coronavirus continues to spread. The news follows China’s decision earlier this week to shut the Tibetan side of the mountain for the climbing season for the same reason.

Climbing permits distributed for between March 14 and April 30 have been revoked.

Climbers often climb Everest towards the end of May, but expeditions typically arrive at base camp weeks in advance.

“We have decided to halt all tourist visas until 30 April,” said Narayan Prasad Bidari, secretary of the prime minister’s office. 

“As of now, all issued permits and permits yet to be issued for the 2020 Everest season will be cancelled.”

A Nepalese climbing permit for Everest costs around US$11,000 (HK$85,000), and in addition climbers typically pay guides and expedition companies between US$20,000 and US$50,000 for assisting them.

Coronavirus started in Wuhan, China, but has quickly spread around the world. There are now more than 80,000 reported cases in China, and there have been over 3,000 related deaths.

The country with the next most infections is Italy, with over 15,000 cases and 1,000 deaths.

There are travel bans to and from the most effected countries and hardly any flights are entering mainland China currently, but Nepal, for now, is not subject to travel bans.

Adrian Ballinger, a Chinese-side Everest guide, posted on Instagram: “While I am saddened for all the hard work our members, guides, Sherpa, local staff, partners and office have put in, and that they and we will not get to test ourselves on the highest playground in the world this year, I am in agreement with China’s decision.”