Covid-19: First recorded case hits Antarctica

Antarctica, the last continent of the world previously free from COVID-19 has now been hit by the virus.

An aerial view of Casey research station is pictured, as Tasmania placed tough new restrictions on mainland Australians seeking entry in response to a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, however, the restrictions will not apply to the Aurora Australis. Many of the expeditioners have spent 12 months living on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island conducting scientific research, in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on March 20, 2020. Nisha Harris/Australian Antarctic Division/

The first set of Covid-19 cases has hit the remote continent of Antarctica, which has a population of less than 5000 and was once the only place with no previous record of the virus.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Chilean Military, which has a base at the Chilean Antarctic Territory. Chile says its health workers are working round the clock to quarantine staff at a research station before the virus spreads.

Chile revealed that 36 people (10 civilian contractors and 26 military personnel) were infected with the virus at the Bernardo O’Higgins base in the Chilean Antarctic Territory.

The Chilean Military said so far, there had been no casualty as military personnel “are already properly isolated and constantly monitored” by health authorities in Magallanes, in Chilean Patagonia.

Antarctica research bases went to great lengths to make sure the virus stayed away from the continent, even cancelling tourist activities and reducing manpower at research stations.

The British Antarctic Survey reported that 1,000 people in 38 stations across the continent navigated the southern hemisphere winter without incident; however, it warned that increased travel over the spring could have increased the risk of a Covid-19 in Antarctica.

The Chilean Military reported that the first 2 cases of the virus in December came from 2 soldiers who initially became ill.

The emergence of cases in the remote icy continent means that the virus has reached every corner of the earth, However, Chile still has one of the lowest death ratios for the virus with just over 16 thousand deaths and over 589,000 cases.

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