Antarctica was the only place on Earth that was untouched by the pandemic.
Chile’s military reported this week that Coronavirus has landed in Antarctica this week. At least 36 people had been infected at its Bernardo O’Higgins base, including 26 army personnel and 10 civilian contractors conducting maintenance at the base.
Base personnel is already properly isolated and monitored continuously by health authorities in Magallanes, in Chilean Patagonia. So, there had so far been no complications.
In pre-coronavirus days, long-term isolation, self-reliance, and psychological strain were the norm for Antarctic teams, while the rest of the world saw their life as fascinatingly extreme.
Still, Research and military stations in Antarctica attempted to prevent the virus from reaching the continent immediately. They had gone to extraordinary lengths in recent months to keep the virus out, canceling tourism, scaling back activities and staff, and locking down facilities.
Almost 1,000 people at 38 stations across Antarctica had safely navigated the southern hemisphere winter without incident. The first Covid-19 cases had been reported in mid-December when two soldiers fell ill.
The news comes just days after Chile’s navy confirmed three cases on a ship that had taken supplies and personnel to the research station.
The news means that Covid cases have now been recorded on all seven continents.