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COVID-19 reaches Antarctica

The Chilean Ministry of Defense has reported that an outbreak of coronavirus infection has occurred at the Chilean General Bernardo O'Higgins station in Antarctica. According to the department, all 36 specialists who were at the base fell ill with COVID-19, 26 of whom were military personnel and 10 were civilians. All of them have already been evacuated and are in isolation and under medical supervision.

After reports of the onset of symptoms of coronavirus infection in most of those at the station, the local Ministry of Defense organized an urgent operation to evacuate them. The PCR test tested positive for the infection in everyone who worked at the station. “36 men were infected with COVID-19, of which 26 are military, and 10 are civilians from a contracting company that carried out planned repairs at the base in Antarctica,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. It is also reported that after the evacuation, the entire complex of the station was subjected to total disinfection.

According to the results of the preliminary investigation, the crew of the military landing ship of the Chilean Navy “Sergeant Aldea" could become the source of the spread of coronavirus at the station. On December 17, the press service of the Chilean Navy announced that three cases of coronavirus infection were detected onboard this ship and the entire crew, consisting of 208 people, was quarantined. And it was this ship that was the last vessel to visit the General Bernardo O'Higgins base from November 27 to December 10.

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