There’s a COVID outbreak in one of the world’s most remote places

Thanks to an outbreak of COVID-19, trips to a US scientific research station in Antarctica have been temporarily halted.

The virus hit the US outpost on the world’s most remote continent in early October, according to the National Science Foundation. Since then, there have been 98 positive tests for the coronavirus among the 993 people living at McMurdo Station in the South Pole.

There are currently 64 active cases of COVID-19 at the station, but most people with the virus are showing mild symptoms and self-isolating in their rooms, the foundation reported in a “containment update”. ‘COVID Antarctica’ this week.

Last Saturday, the federal agency implemented what was described as “a pause on all travel to the mainland” for the next two weeks, effective immediately, while we reassess the situation. does not apply to travel deemed essential for health and safety reasons, the foundation said.

The decision to suspend non-essential travel to the station was described as “consistent with the US National Science Foundation’s commitment to balancing research and operational needs while containing the spread of COVID cases in Antarctica.”

With an infection rate of 10% at the station, people there are advised to wear KN-95 masks at all times. Those who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for five days and then mask up for another five days. They can return to work after two negative tests.

While the station operates year-round, NBC News reported that November is when many scientists typically arrive to conduct field research during Antarctica’s summer season. The network said the impact of the outbreak on the station’s operations is not yet clear.

Previously, NBC said, the station had eased quarantines, rehearsed testing and other protocols intended to keep COVID-19 at bay. However, the COVID-19 reminder update is still required and people considered to be at high risk for the virus are being kept away, the network said.

The cases at the US base are not the first for Antarctica. COVID-19 first reached the mainland in December 2020, about a year after its appearance in China. The BBC said the Chilean military reported 36 cases to that country’s Antarctic research station after the Chilean navy confirmed three cases on a ship that delivered supplies and personnel.

Cases of COVID-19 have also been reported in Belgian, Argentinian and Australian outposts in Antarctica.

Leave a Comment