Coronavirus fears spread to top of the world as Nepal closes Mount Everest

Nepal has closed all of its Himalayan peaks, including Mount Everest, as a 'precautionary' measure to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It comes a day after China closed its side of Mount Everest over similar fears, and effectively closes the 29,000ft (8,850 metre) mountain to all.

Nepal's government also announced it was cancelling all visas on arrival for tourists, and any visitors arriving after Saturday would be placed into 14 days quarantine.

The mountain range is home to 14 of the world's highest peaks and brings in more than £3 million each year in permit fees.

The Himalayas bring in millions in income for Nepal each year. Credit: AP

Nepal has just one confirmed case of the virus so far - a Nepali student who returned home for a holiday from China - who has already recovered.

But the government was concerned over how easily the virus could spread from climbers in close proximity to each other for weeks in extreme temperatures, especially during the popular spring season.

Fever and coughs, both symptoms of the coronavirus, are already common ailments for those attempting to climb the summit.

Nepal has had only one confirmed coronavirus case so far. Credit: AP

Nepal's government charges about £8,000 for a permit to climb to the peak, of Mount Everest during the popular spring season, according to the British Mountaineering Council, but most climbers pay much more than that to hire guides and support workers.

The industry is a significant source of revenue for the landlocked country, and supports thousands of local workers.

It's the second time the mountain has been closed in recent years. In 2015, expeditions were halted following a devastating earthquake that killed about 9,000 people.

Schools have been ordered to close in the country by next week, and citizens have been advised to stay away from crowded gatherings.