The COVID wave has hit Antarctica


FILE – In this file photo from Jan. 20, 2015, wooden arrows mark distances to various towns on King George Island, Antarctica. (AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko, file)

(NEXSTAR) – The latest wave of COVID-19 cases has reached even the most remote corners of the world, now including Antarctica.

Researchers in the isolated ice continent have started testing positive for the virus in recent weeks. Sunday, Antarctica Report tweeted 16 of the 25 people parked at the Belgian Princess Elisabeth station have been infected with the coronavirus.

All cases have been “mild,” the Antarctic report said.

“While it was a downside to having to quarantine some of the staff who caught the virus, it did not significantly affect our work at the station overall,” said Joseph Cheek, chief of staff. project at the International Polar Foundation, told the BBC.

Some of the scientists came from Belgium to Antarctica with a stopover in South Africa. The first positive test appeared on December 14.

Anyone at Princess Elisabeth Station has had the option of leaving on a flight scheduled for January 12, but so far everyone has decided to stay and continue working, Cheek said.

The station requires everyone to be vaccinated and test negative before coming to Antarctica, reports the BBC.

It appears to be only the second outbreak of COVID-19 in Antarctica. The coronavirus pandemic first reached the continent in December 2020. Chile has announced that 58 people at military bases in Antarctica or on a Navy ship who traveled to the continent have tested positive for the virus .

These 16 cases in Antarctica represent an extraordinarily small part of the latest wave of coronavirus cases, largely due to the omicron variant. The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Data Tracking Project has recorded nearly 24 million cases worldwide in the past four weeks.


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