Untouched Antarctica: Coronavirus creeps into the last destination on earth

Martinez

Untouched Antarctica: Coronavirus creeps into the last destination on earth

The last place on earth, where the novel Coronavirus had restricted access until a few days back, has now come under the grip of the pandemic.

According to the reports, the Chilean authorities revealed on December 22 that at least 58 people stationed at two military bases in Antarctica or on a ship that visited the continent have tested positive for COVID. Meanwhile, no other region in Antarctica has reported any similar case of COVID infection.

Reportedly, about 36 people at the Gen. Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme Antarctic base are infected by the Coronavirus. On Tuesday, the health minister for Chile’s Biobio region told the press that 21 people aboard the Chilean navy’s Sergeant Aldea supply ship are also infected by the virus.

News has it that another case was reported in Las Estrellas’ village where the Sergeant Aldea ship had docked. For now, the 208 crew members of the ship are under quarantine aboard the same vessel. As reported, the ship had serviced the base on the Trinity Peninsula between November 27 and December 10. The 36 persons infected by COVID have been moved to Punta Arenas in Chile for quarantine and recovery.

Untouched Antarctica: Coronavirus creeps into the last destination on earth

The U.S. National Science Foundation, the agency overseeing U.S. programs in Antarctica, said it was aware of the reports of positive cases in passengers aboard the Sergeant Aldea.

The pandemic has given a setback to the major research projects in the Antarctica. Apparently, research programs on ice-sheet information, weather data and wildlife statistics as scheduled by the scientists around the world have come to a halt.

On the other hand, the New York Times reported in February this year that mainstream tourism in Antarctica is growing at a fast pace, which is not a good sign, considering the fragile environment of the continent and lack of an individual government in power to take care of it.

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