So far 16 of 25 team members at the Princess Elisabeth Polar stop have tested positive for the virus and are reported to be isolating
Image: BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)
A scientific research base in Antarctica has seen an sudden increase of Covid-19.
So far 16 of 25 team members at the Princess Elisabeth Polar stop have tested positive for the virus.
The stop is in a far away vicinity close to the South Pole, and all workers are tested twice and have to quarantine before their arrival.
The first case was detected on December 14 at the Belgian outpost, while more and more people have since contracted the virus.
People working at the stop are required to provide a negative test before leaving Belgium for South Africa – where they have to quarantine before testing negative again.
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Joseph Cheek, project manager for the International Polar Foundation, told the BBC : “The situation isn’t emotional.
“While it has been an inconvenience to have to quarantine certain members of the staff who caught the virus, it hasn’t considerably affected our work at the stop overall.”
He said that workers have turned down the chance to leave the stop, opting instead to keep.
Mr Cheek said: “All residents of the stop were offered the opportunity to leave on a scheduled flight on 12 January. However, they all expressed their wish to stay and continue their work.”
New arrivals have been suspended at the stop as a consequence of the sudden increase.
Antarctica was the last continent to report a Covid case, with the first infection recorded in December 2020 on a Chilean army base.
Thirty six people would go on to test positive in the following weeks.
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