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Coronavirus Reaches Every Continent On Earth As Antarctica Reports First Cases

by : Julia Banim on : 23 Dec 2020 08:06
Coronavirus Reaches Every Continent On Earth As Antarctica Reports First CasesPA/Wikipedia

The coronavirus pandemic has now reached every continent on Earth, as Antarctica reports its first cases of the virus.

This week, health and army officials worked to remove and quarantine personnel at the Bernardo O’Higgins base, a remote research station located in northernmost Antarctica, which is surrounded by ocean and icebergs.

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At least 36 people are said to have become infected at the permanently staffed base, which is operated by Chile’s army. This includes 26 army personnel and 10 civilian contractors who had been conducting maintenance work.

Coronavirus Reaches Every Continent On Earth As Antarctica Reports First CasesPA

The army has said that members of staff ‘are already properly isolated and constantly monitored’ by health authorities in Magallanes, in Chilean Patagonia, with no complications so far, Reuters reports.

Antarctica-based research and military stations – which are among the most remote on the planet – reportedly went to extraordinary lengths in the last few months to keep the virus at bay. This included cancelling tourism, scaling back on activities and staff members, and locking down facilities.

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British Antarctic Survey researchers have estimated around 1,000 people at 38 stations across the continent had managed to safely navigate the southern hemisphere winter without incident.

However, increased travel to and from the region in the spring and early summer reportedly heightened infection risk. An Army press officer has stated that the first coronavirus cases were reported in mid-December, with two soldiers having fallen ill.

AntarcticaPA

The development comes just days after Chile’s navy confirmed there had been three cases on a ship which had transported supplies and personnel to the base, BBC News reports.

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The Sargento Aldea reportedly arrived at the base on November 27, sailing back to Chile on December 10. Three crew members tested positive for the virus upon their return to the Chilean naval base in Talcahuano.

According to Chile’s navy, all of those who had embarked on the Antarctic trip had been given PCR tests, with the results all coming back negative.

AntarcticaPA

Chile is said to be the sixth worst-affected country in Latin America, with over 585,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

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This latest news means that cases of coronavirus have now been recorded on each of the seven continents on Earth.

It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Antarctica, Coronavirus, Now

Credits

Reuters and 1 other
  1. Reuters

    Coronavirus reaches end of earth as first outbreak hits Antarctica

  2. BBC News

    Coronavirus spreads to Antarctic research station