Coronavirus on Himalayan treks: What you must know

Over the past two weeks, we have received several calls and emails from trekkers. Trekkers are concerned about trekking in the Himalayas because of the recent news about Coronavirus. Trekkers are asking – what about Coronavirus on Himalayan treks?

We understand your concern. And so, Trek Coordinators at Indiahikes are keeping a close eye on the situation.

Indiahikes founder Arjun Majumdar says, “So far there have been only 3 cases in our country. All our Himalayan treks are running on schedule. If there is any action to be taken, the Government of India will issue an order or impose a travel ban. And depending on that we will decide our next course of action.”

Everest Base Camp Trek Indiahikes
Thangna to Gokyo Ri on EBC-GokyoRi trek. PC: Santhosh Govindarajulu

Till then, here’s an update from our operating treks for you.

There’s no reported case of Coronavirus on the Indian Himalayan treks

There have been no reported cases of Coronavirus in the states of Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Himachal Pradesh. Currently, all of our Indian treks are operating on schedule in these three states.

Further, we are in constant touch with our Slope Managers, team members, and government officials from the mentioned states. This means that if there are any updates, we will be the first ones to know. And, we will notify you immediately.

 

There are no reported cases of Coronavirus in the Annapurna Conservation Region of Nepal

Coming to Nepal, we run three treks in the mountain country – the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, the Khopra Ridge – Khayer Lake trek, and the Everest Base Camp-GokyoRi trek.

The Nepal trekking season has not begun yet. As of now, none of our trekkers, or staff are in Nepal. There is still time and our treks begin only by the end of March. We are hopeful that the virus will be contained till then. Screening and treatment are also expected to get better. Moreover, our Trek Coordinators are constantly communicating with our Nepali staff.

We are in constant touch with our Slope Managers and government officials from the mountains. If there are any updates, we will be the first ones to know. And, we will notify you immediately.

Of the three treks, the first two are in the Annapurna Conservation region of Nepal. This is an extremely high altitude region which has no reported case of Coronavirus.

So it’s safe to say that till now the situation is clear. There is no need to worry. You may proceed with your trekking plan too.

Having said that, we also understand your concern. If you wish to shift your trek to a later batch with available slots, you may do so too. We are happy to help you out with it. For this, please write an email to your Trek Coordinator. Mention the trek, batch date you’re in and the trek, batch date you want to move to in the email.

A special note

Coronavirus is transmitted only through direct human contact. The only way of getting infected with Coronavirus is by coming in close contact with an infected person.

TAAN Press Release - Coronavirus
Press Statement issued by the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal.

The virus does not survive or stay suspended in the air. You are at a risk of infection only when you inhale/ingest droplets of a sneeze/cough from a person infected with Coronavirus.

The chances of encountering/catching Coronavirus on a trek is close to zero. But places of transit such as – international airports, domestic airports, and railway stations are risk areas. All international travellers are being screened at international airports and ports of entry.

Global bodies such as the United Nations (UN), World Health Organisation (WHO) are suggesting precautionary measures, and suspending travel to a few countries. This has helped in containing the virus.

Precautionary measures for travellers

On that note, here are some basic precautions to take while travelling:

  1. Wash your hands frequently: Make sure to wash your hands in clean, running water. While washing, lather your hands as well. And as a precaution, keep your nails clipped.
  2. Sneeze with care: Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze. Do not sneeze into the air. Use a handkerchief. And if you don’t have one, sneeze into your elbow instead of your hand.
  3. Seek help early: Alert your co-travellers and officials if you have a fever or headache. Visit a doctor to be sure. After all, prevention is better than cure.
  4. Avoid eating raw, uncooked meat: If you are eating non-vegetarian food, ensure that it is well cooked. Avoid eating any organs.
  5. Be alert: Keep distance from people who are sneezing or coughing.
  6. Keep yourself informed: Follow the news, and stay updated with new developments.

We understand your concern and will share another update in March if there’s any change in the situation. Your safety is a prime concern at Indiahikes. We will keep you posted about any developments regarding Coronavirus on treks.

Please write to your Trek Coordinators, or call us on 080-468-01269 if you have any further concerns. Stay safe, and happy trekking!

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4 thoughts on “Coronavirus on Himalayan treks: What you must know

  1. I got an automatic message from a sikkim Trek company that as of today, 5th March 2020 no more ILP will be given to foreign trekkers. Is this true?

    1. Hi Andrea, unfortunately, this is true. It is because of the coronavirus scare, and is being taken as a preventive measure. Here’s a legitimate news report – https://www.news18.com/news/india/sikkim-suspends-issuing-ilp-to-foreigners-as-precautionary-measure-amid-coronavirus-panic-2527163.html

      We are not sure when they will start issuing ILPs again. It’s an unfortunate step, but our hands our tied.

      We are offering the Sandakphu trek (which is outside of Sikkim but close enough) as an alternative to trekkers who have signed up with Indiahikes. Thankfully, Sandakphu is a very good alternative, especially at this time of the year. You’ll find all you need to know about Sandakphu here – https://indiahikes.com/sandakphu/

      1. Thank You! So, Your Sandakphu Trek: If I wish to join Your trek on 12th April, but will arrive 10th April in Siliguri Airport – Should I then just go to Darjeeling by myself and can I meet you there to start the trek on 12th April? And: As on Day 7 I don’t need to go back, because my flight is only on 2nd May, could I do treks from the endpoint in Gorkhey ? Are there any? Would it be possible that somehow one still could go on the GoechaLa trek ? How much would Your trek cost if I join You in Darjeeling and pay my hostel in Darjeeling myself as well as the transport from and to the Airport ?
        Or, is it possible to do this trek independantly? Best regards, andrea

  2. Hi

    This seems a very old article. Are there any fresh updates on this? Since Indiahikes has resumed trekking in October, it would be great if we could have a new post regarding current situation, whether any trekkers were diagnosed with covid while on or after the trek etc.