“We can’t just extend climbing permits on basis of Covid rumors,” Mr. Tamang said.

“Whether their expeditions were canceled because of Covid-19 or not, that should be examined,” he said.

With very few Sherpas having been vaccinated when they arrived at base camp, dozens contracted Covid-19. Some were airlifted out. Others isolated in their pup tents and climbed to higher camps after recovering.

Phunuru Sherpa of International Mountain Guides said 10 Sherpa guides on his team fell sick with Covid-19.

Of the more than 400 foreign climbers attempting to scale Everest, almost half abandoned their expeditions, either because of Covid-19 infections or because of a cyclone that caused snowstorms in the Himalayas.

Scott Simper, a climber from Utah who lives in New Zealand, reached Everest’s peak on May 11, according to his wife, Anna Keeling, a mountain guide.

“He didn’t know he had Covid on the mountain,” she said. Mr. Simper learned of his infection only after testing positive days later in Kathmandu, where his expedition company quarantined him at a hotel for 12 days. His wife said he was still recovering from the disease.

Mr. Ness, the Norwegian climber who described his bout with Covid-19 on social media, was airlifted from base camp to a hospital in Kathmandu. Doctors advised him not to return to the mountain, so he flew home to Norway. The Everest expedition had taken three years to plan and cost him $40,000, plus hospital fees in Nepal. He does not expect to get any money back.

Mario Celinic of Croatia said he tested positive at Everest base camp. He had trained for Everest for four years, climbing some of the world’s other highest peaks. Suffering no symptoms, he decided to proceed to the top.

“‘You have Covid and you must be careful,’ this came into my mind, because Covid affects the lungs and that would be difficult to breathe above 8,000 meters’ altitude,” he said.

“That mountain is like a beautiful flower that will kill you anytime. It attracts you. You must come, you are admired. And when you go up to 8,000 meters, you are completely helpless. Whatever the mountain decides, that will be your fate,” Mr. Celinic said.

Bhadra Sharma reported from Kathmandu, and Emily Schmall from New Delhi.

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Why Asia, the Pandemic Champion, Remains Miles Away From the Finish Line

SYDNEY, Australia — All across the Asia-Pacific region, the countries that led the world in containing the coronavirus are now languishing in the race to put it behind them.

While the United States, which has suffered far more grievous outbreaks, is now filling stadiums with vaccinated fans and cramming airplanes with summer vacationers, the pandemic champions of the East are still stuck in a cycle of uncertainty, restrictions and isolation.

In southern China, the spread of the Delta variant led to a sudden lockdown in Guangzhou, a major industrial capital. Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia have also clamped down after recent outbreaks, while Japan is dealing with its own weariness from a fourth round of infections, spiked with fears of viral disaster from the Olympics.

the new outbreak in southern China will affect busy port terminals there. Across Asia, faltering vaccine rollouts could also open the door to spiraling variant-fueled lockdowns that inflict new damage on economies, push out political leaders and alter power dynamics between nations.

The risks are rooted in decisions made months ago, before the pandemic had inflicted the worst of its carnage.

blocked the export of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine meant for Australia to control its own raging outbreak. Other shipments were delayed because of manufacturing issues.

“The supplies of purchased vaccine actually landing on docks — it’s fair to say they are not anywhere near the purchase commitments,” said Richard Maude, a senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute in Australia.

with the United States and Europe.

In Asia, about 20 percent of people have received at least one dose of a vaccine, with Japan, for example, at just 14 percent. By contrast, the figure is nearly 45 percent in France, more than 50 percent in the United States and more than 60 percent in Britain.

Instagram, where Americans once scolded Hollywood stars for enjoying mask-free life in zero-Covid Australia, is now studded with images of grinning New Yorkers hugging just-vaccinated friends. While snapshots from Paris show smiling diners at cafes that are wooing summer tourists, in Seoul, people are obsessively refreshing apps that locate leftover doses, usually finding nothing.

“Does the leftover vaccine exist?” one Twitter user recently asked. “Or has it disappeared in 0.001 seconds because it is like a ticket for the front-row seat of a K-pop idol concert?”

keep its borders closed for another year. Japan is currently barring almost all nonresidents from entering the country, and intense scrutiny of overseas arrivals in China has left multinational businesses without key workers.

The immediate future for many places in Asia seems likely to be defined by frantic optimization.

China’s response to the outbreak in Guangzhou — testing millions of people in days, shutting down entire neighborhoods — is a rapid-fire reprise of how it has handled previous flare-ups. Few inside the country expect this approach to change anytime soon, especially as the Delta variant, which has devastated India, is now beginning to circulate.

has threatened residents with fines of around $450 for refusing vaccines. Vietnam has responded to its recent spike in infections by asking the public for donations to a Covid-19 vaccine fund. And in Hong Kong, officials and business leaders are offering a range of inducements to ease severe vaccine hesitancy.

Nonetheless, the prognosis for much of Asia this year is billboard obvious: The disease is not defeated, and won’t be anytime soon. Even those lucky enough to get a vaccine often leave with mixed emotions.

“This is the way out of the pandemic,” said Kate Tebbutt, 41, a lawyer who last week had just received her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine at the Royal Exhibition Building near Melbourne’s central business district. “I think we should be further ahead than where we are.”

Reporting was contributed by Raymond Zhong in Taipei, Taiwan, Ben Dooley in Tokyo, Sui-Lee Wee in Singapore, Youmi Kim in Seoul and Yan Zhuang in Melbourne, Australia.

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She Was Supposed to Become Prime Minister but Was Locked Out of Parliament

A statement issued on Monday evening by the country’s attorney general seemed to bear out that assessment. The official, Savalenoa Mareva Betham Annandale, an ally of Mr. Tuilaepa’s, declared the swearing-in unlawful and said everyone involved was subject to civil and criminal prosecution.

The delays could put Mr. Tuilaepa closer to his goal of a return to the polls.

“A second election would be an absolute farce,” said Patricia O’Brien, an expert on the region at the Australian National University. “You can’t trust any of these officials anymore to run a clean election because Tuilaepa wants a foregone conclusion — which is that he wins.”

For Samoans on either side of the political divide, seeing Ms. Mata’afa, a respected veteran of Samoan politics, locked outside Parliament House was a highly emotional moment, said Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, a scholar and journalist based in Samoa. Feelings ran especially high as people there began to sing historical Samoan protest songs, she said.

“People were singing songs about our Mau movement,” she said, referring to Samoa’s peaceful movement for independence. “One of the leaders of the Mau movement was Fiame’s grandfather. No matter which side you’re on, that is just a very, very emotional thing to witness.”

For the most part, she said, supporters of both parties have remained loyal to their side throughout the process, though some H.R.P.P. voters appeared to be deterred by what seemed to many to be a power grab by Mr. Tuilaepa.

Around the region, governments encouraged Samoan officials to follow the will of the people.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand voiced her support for Samoa’s judiciary. “Here in New Zealand, we have complete faith in Samoa’s institutions, and that includes its judiciary,” she told reporters. “Our call would be to maintain and uphold the rule of law and that democratic outcome.”

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New Zealanders Are Flooding Home. Will the Old Problems Push Them Back Out?

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Like many New Zealanders before her, Cat Moody chased the broader horizons of life abroad, unsure if she would ever return to a homeland she saw as remote and limiting.

But when the pandemic arrived, it “changed the calculus” of what she valued, she said. Suddenly, fresh air, natural splendor and a sparse population sounded more appealing, as did the sense of security in a country whose strict measures have all but vanquished Covid-19.

In February, Ms. Moody, 42, left her house and the life she had built in Princeton, N.J., and moved back to New Zealand with her husband, a U.S. citizen. She is among more than 50,000 New Zealanders who have flocked home during the pandemic, offering the country a rare opportunity to win back some of its best and brightest.

The unexpected influx of international experience and connections has led to local news reports heralding a societal and industrial renaissance. Policymakers are exhorting businesses to capitalize on the “fundamental competitive advantage” offered by the country’s success against the coronavirus.

have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, and Australians and residents of the Cook Islands are the only non-New Zealanders who can visit.

“Shifting into how we take advantage of the way things have changed, I think having a government that is risk-averse is actually going to be damaging to New Zealand,” Ms. Moody said.

Ms. Imam, who worked in communications for the computer company Dell in the United States, said that New Zealand’s reputation abroad was better than it deserved.

Still, she said that new government policies, such as paid leave for women who have miscarriages, had convinced her that the “project that is New Zealand” was worth returning for.

“At least we’re doing something right,” she said. “I want to be part of that.”

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A Late-Night Proclamation Blocks a Woman From Leading Samoa

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The Pacific island nation of Samoa hurtled toward a constitutional crisis on Saturday, when the country’s head of state announced that he was suspending Parliament just two days before it was scheduled to swear in the country’s first new prime minister in more than two decades.

In a single-page letter posted to Facebook, Va’aletoa Sualauvi II, Samoa’s appointed head of state, announced that Parliament would be suspended “until such time as to be announced and for reasons that I will make known in due course.”

Samoa’s Parliament had been scheduled to officially reopen on Monday, fulfilling a constitutional requirement to convene within a 45-day window of the April 9 election. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, the leader of the newcomer party FAST, was to be sworn in as prime minister, ending Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi’s 22-year tenure.

Speaking by phone from Samoa early Sunday, Ms. Mata’afa said the proclamation was an attempt to prevent her party from taking power. “This is a coup,” she said. Mr. Tuilaepa could not be reached for comment.

a law meant to ensure that more women serve in Parliament.

To comply with the law, Mr. Tuilaepa had argued, Parliament needed to add another seat, appointing an additional woman from his party, an act that would have given his party enough seats to hold onto the premiership. The argument and a call for a second election were ultimately rejected by the courts.

Elections in Samoa, a country of 200,000 people, are not generally so explosive. Over the past four decades, Mr. Tuilaepa’s Human Rights Protection Party has consistently won a comfortable majority, helped by legal changes that have made dissent increasingly difficult and have blocked fledgling opposition parties from gaining traction.

But this year has been different. Three highly divisive bills that were widely seen as overreach on the part of the government led to Ms. Mata’afa’s defection from the Human Rights Protection Party last year.

A seasoned and well-liked politician, Ms. Mata’afa has been in politics for more than 30 years and is the daughter of Samoa’s first prime minister. Her defection to FAST helped propel it to electoral success, eventually inspiring an influential independent candidate to throw his weight behind the party, breaking a tie.

“Everything about this election — people have talked about it being unprecedented, but now we’re entering a truly unprecedented state,” said Kerryn Baker, an expert on the region at the Australian National University. “Things could be sorted out through alternate channels, but we’re essentially beyond the Constitution now.”

Mr. Tuilaepa has made it clear that he will not vacate his position without a fight. Despite Ms. Mata’afa’s party holding 26 of the 51 available seats, Mr. Tuilaepa and his party had rejected multiple calls to concede.

“They do not want to relinquish power,” said Patricia O’Brien, an expert on autocracy in the Pacific at the Australian National University. “Before, it was a veneer of democracy, but now, this is real democracy in action — where power has to be relinquished and where the voice of the people is not to Tuilaepa’s liking. He’s not doing what he should be doing, and that’s conceding.”

Addressing the country in a live Facebook broadcast late Saturday, a serene but tired-looking Ms. Mata’afa urged Samoans to keep the peace. “We just need to try and find a rational way to get through this, and keep people calm,” she said afterward. “There are still some sensible people around, and we can work through this.”

But she acknowledged that Mr. Tuilaepa and his supporters could still resist the transition of power: “We had been expecting that some other effort would be made, and I expect even more to come along.”

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Samoa Is Set to Have Its First Female Leader

While its island neighbors in the Pacific weathered military coups and internal volatility, Samoa long followed a predictable political course, keeping the same leader in power for more than two decades.

But as the country is set to usher in its first female prime minister, that status quo has been dramatically upended. The incoming leader, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, represents a sharp break from what she describes as a worrying slide away from the rule of law, and she has vowed to scrap a major infrastructure project backed by China, her country’s largest creditor.

And her ascension itself, after a dizzying seven-week period of uncertainty and intrigue that followed the April 9 election, has sent a rare charge through Samoan politics.

First, there was a dead heat at the polls. Ms. Mata’afa’s upstart party won as many seats in Parliament as the one led by the swaggering prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. An independent candidate took the remaining seat, making him a kingmaker.

American Samoa — is more than four decades in the making. Ms. Mata’afa, 64, a high chief who holds the title fiame, was propelled into political leadership after her father, the country’s first prime minister, died when she was 18. Not long after, she became the matai, or head of her family — an unusually early rise.

legislation that threatened to change the structure of the Samoan judiciary.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” Ms. Mata’afa said. “What really led me to make the decision to step away was the dismantling of essentially the rule of law.”

“Because of that huge majority that the H.R.P.P. had,” she added, “it became a lot more rampant, even the internal checks weren’t there — I was getting to feel a bit like the lone voice. If you can’t do it from the inside, you have to step outside.”

She became the leader of a new opposition party, known as FAST, which drew a number of other H.R.P.P. defectors.

told local news media. “They should go to a church and pray instead of protesting in front of the courthouse.”

Ms. Mata’afa, for her part, said she just wanted to get on with the job.

“It’s a free world; he can talk about anything he likes,” she said. “I just like to spend my energy talking about things that need to be addressed.”

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Irish Hospitals Are Latest to Be Hit by Ransomware Attacks

A cyberattack on Ireland’s health system has paralyzed the country’s health services for a week, cutting off access to patient records, delaying Covid-19 testing, and forcing cancellations of medical appointments.

Using ransomware, which is malware that encrypts a victims’ data until they pay a ransom, the people behind the attack have been holding hostage the data at Ireland’s publicly funded health care system, the Health Service Executive. The attack forced the H.S.E. to shut down its entire information technology system.

In a media briefing on Thursday, Paul Reid, chief executive of the H.S.E., said the attack was “stomach churning.”

Caroline Kohn, a spokeswoman for a group of hospitals in the eastern part of the country, said the hospitals were forced to keep all of their records on paper. “We’re back to the 1970s,” she said.

upended the lives of cancer patients whose chemotherapy treatments had to be delayed or recreated from memory.

The attacks come on top of a similar ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, the American pipeline operation that supplies nearly half the gas, diesel and jet fuel to the East Coast. That attack prompted Colonial Pipeline to shut down its pipeline operations, triggering panic buying at the pump and gas and jet fuel shortages along the East Coast. Colonial Pipeline agreed to pay its extortionists, a different cybercriminal gang called DarkSide, nearly $5 million to decrypt its data.

The attack in Ireland has caused backlogs inside emergency rooms from Dublin to Galway, and patients have been urged to stay away from hospitals unless they require urgent care.

In many Irish counties, appointments have been canceled for radiation treatments, MRIs, gynecological visits, endoscopies and other health services. Health authorities said the attack was also causing delays in Covid-19 test results, but a vaccine appointment system was still working.

Irish health officials said Thursday that H.S.E. was working to build a new network, separate from the one that has been affected. Hundreds of experts have been recruited to rebuild 2,000 distinct systems. The effort is likely to cost tens of millions of euros, Mr. Reid said.

The H.S.E. said Thursday that it had been provided with a key that could decrypt the data being held for ransom, but it was unclear if it would work.

a separate legal fight by Microsoft — to take down a major botnet, a network of infected computers, called Trickbot, that served as a major conduit for ransomware.

In the weeks that followed those efforts, cybercriminals said they planned to attack more than 400 hospitals. The threat caused the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to warn health care operators to improve their protection from ransomware.

Ransomware groups continue to operate with relative immunity in Russia, where government officials rarely prosecute cybercriminals and refuse to extradite them. In response to the Colonial Pipeline episode last week, President Biden said Russia bore some responsibility for ransomware attacks because cybercriminals operate within its borders.

Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm, said members of Wizard Spider, the group responsible for the attack on Ireland’s health systems, spoke Russian and researchers “have high confidence that they are Eastern European, likely Russian.”

Last month, the data of a school district in Florida was held hostage by Wizard Spider. Broward County Public Schools, the sixth largest school district in the United States, was hacked by cybercriminals who demanded $40 million in cryptocurrency. The criminals encrypted data and posted thousands of the schools’ information online after officials declined to pay.

Last December, the chip maker Advantech was also hit by Wizard Spider. Its data was posted to the so-called dark web after it refused to pay.

Some cyber insurance companies have covered the costs of ransom payments, calculating that the ransom payments are still cheaper than the cost of rebuilding systems and data from scratch. Regulators have started to pressure insurance companies out of paying ransom demands, arguing that they are only fueling more ransomware attacks and emboldening cybercriminals to make more lucrative demands.

AXA, the French insurance giant, said last week that it would no longer cover ransom payments. Within days of its announcement, AXA was hit with a ransomware attack that paralyzed information technology operations in Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

“This is just business as usual,” John Dickson, a cybersecurity expert at the San Antonio-based Denim Group, said in an interview Thursday. “These attacks should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention.”

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Traveling to Europe? A Country-by-Country Reopening Guide

Infections and deaths in Turkey from the coronavirus have been declining steadily following a strict three-week national lockdown, which is expected to be lifted gradually through May.

Turkey so far has fully vaccinated about 13 percent of its population of 83 million people; about three million more have received their first dose, according to Our World in Data, an online compendium of data from global sources.

While the country is currently facing a vaccine shortage, forcing it to delay the administration of second doses, the health minister, Fahrettin Koca, said 30 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine would arrive in June and 50 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine are expected to arrive from Russia within six months.

Turkey has remained open to tourists, including Americans, throughout the pandemic. Most international arrivals are required to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival into the country.

Coronavirus tests are not required for passengers arriving from places that Turkey considers epidemiologically safe, which include Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Ukraine and Estonia.

Passengers arriving from Brazil, South Africa and India will be required to quarantine for 14 days in government-assigned accommodations and will be released if they test negative for the virus after day 10.

Turkey offers health insurance packages starting at as little as $15 that cover foreign visitors for Covid-19 treatment and hospitalization for up to 30 days. The country treats coronavirus patients in both public and private hospitals and opened 17 new hospitals last year to provide more intensive-care capacity for Covid treatment.

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In Washington, Hundreds Take Part in Pro-Palestinian Protests

WASHINGTON — Hours after Israel launched an airstrike on a Gaza media tower, hundreds of protesters marched Saturday afternoon from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol in protest of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and what they said was an inadequate response from the United States.

“People think they can be neutral about this. That’s absolutely wrong,” said Alexandra-Ola Chaic, 17, who traveled to the rally from Burke, Va., with her family, which is of Palestinian descent. “We have to do what we can to make this an issue that receives political support.”

The protest was one of several planned around the country for Nakba Day, which Palestinians observe every May 15 to commemorate the 1948 displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians amid Israel’s war of independence. The Washington protest was organized by local chapters of the Palestinian Youth Movement and American Muslims for Palestine, but news of the march spread largely through social media and word of mouth, including during Friday prayers at local mosques.

The crowd that gathered was diverse in age and background, and included many families with young children.

Ruth Soto, 25, from Northern Virginia, came with her sister to show solidarity with Palestinians. She said the displacement of Palestinians felt personal to her because her family fled war in Central America to come to the United States illegally.

“We’ve seen the struggle, being displaced from your home,” she said. “This is a way we can help them.”

Zeina Hutchinson, who was born in Palestine, came from Ashburn, Va., to protest with her husband and two sons, aged 12 and 13. She said it was important to her that her sons remembered their Palestinian roots and continued to fight for their people’s independence. Ms. Hutchinson echoed the desire of many protesters that the government end aid to Israel and sanction the country over the current conflict.

“I’m here to demand from Congress, from every elected representative, to condition aid to Israel and to sanction Israel. Because what’s happening right now is unconscionable,” she said.

Omar Hudhud, a senior at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., came with his sister, Salma, and mother, Inam, who is Palestinian and was born and raised in Jerusalem.

“To see a lot of people from different ethnicities, diversities,” he said, “it just brought a sense that we’re all in this together.”

Inam Hudhud said she felt helpless watching footage of the rocket attacks on Palestinian communities. “It hurts my heart,” she said. “At least I can come here and protest. It’s the best thing I can do.”

Protests also rose in other parts of the world on Saturday:

  • Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters, many of them waving Palestinian flags or wearing traditional kaffiyeh scarves, gathered in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, as well as at smaller rallies throughout the country. The march was scheduled weeks in advance for Nakba Day. Protesters called on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand to condemn Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and expel Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand.

Natasha Frost contributed reporting.

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Australia’s First Repatriation Flight from India Returns Half Empty

Days after ending its divisive ban on allowing citizens to return from India, Australia carried out its first repatriation flight from that country, with the plane departing from New Delhi and arriving in Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory, on Saturday.

The flight had been scheduled to carry 150 passengers, but just 80 people were on it, after 70 people were barred from travel because they or their close contacts had tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Australian government. The new arrivals in Australia now face two weeks of quarantine in a converted mining camp outside Darwin.

Because of Australia’s rigorous preflight testing, in which passengers must show two negative tests for Covid-19, the seats could not be given to other passengers. At least 9,500 Australians in India have registered as wanting to return home. Around 1,000 of those people are classified as “vulnerable” for health or financial reasons.

When the numbers of new cases of the coronavirus began a perilous ascent in India last month, Australia followed in the footsteps of New Zealand and imposed a temporary ban on travel from India. Those who defied the ban faced the threat of jail time or large fines. The policy was heavily criticized and labeled a breach of human rights by lawmakers, advocacy groups and those in the Indian diaspora.

the most recent government guidance. Many Australian citizens are still stranded abroad, unable to secure spots in isolation facilities or afford flights home that may run into the tens of thousands of dollars for a one-way ticket. The measures have all but eliminated community transmission of the virus.

India, by contrast, is experiencing one of the world’s most dangerous outbreaks, with hospitals unable to accommodate the thousands of people who require urgent medical attention. Crematories in the country, which has so far reported 24 million cases and more than 250,000 deaths, are overloaded, while dozens of bodies have washed up on the banks of the Ganges River.

In a televised briefing over the weekend, Australia’s treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said that the government’s priority was to protect Australians within their own country. “We’re following the medical advice,” he said, adding, “We’ve got to maintain our health settings because we know how damaging to the lives and livelihoods of Australians an outbreak here would be.”

Further repatriation flights are scheduled for later this month, with about 1,000 people planning to return by the end of June.

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