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Coronavirus Has Now Invaded Antarctica With 36 People Testing Positive

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Coronavirus Has Now Invaded Antarctica With 36 People Testing Positive

Antarctica has long been the only continent in the world that has been immune from the coronavirus.

The sparsely populated land mass that has temperatures well below freezing was probably the perfect place to go in the event of a pandemic...until now.

A whopping 36 people have tested positive for the virus on an Antarctic research station.

The Chilean research base says 26 members of the army and 10 maintenance workers have all returned positive results after getting a Covid-19 test.

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They've been evacuated to Punta Arenas in southern Chile to isolate.

Credit: Paola Torres/YouTube
Credit: Paola Torres/YouTube

Three crew on a ship that provided support to the team have also tested positive after returning to Chile.

The Chilean army said in a statement: "Thanks to the timely preventive action...it was possible to relieve said personnel, who, after being subjected to a medical control and the administration of a PCR test...turned out to be positive for Covid-19."

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According to the ABC, the General Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme base, colloquially known as O'Higgins, is 'hard to reach even by Antarctic terms'.

While the base is isolated, a researcher in Antarctica says it will have far reaching consequences for the rest of the continent.

The University of Tasmania's Hanne Nielsen said: "The detection of cases of COVID-19 in Antarctica will impact upon a range of areas, from planning and logistics of human activity on the continent through to high-level decision-making back home.

"The remote nature of Antarctica heightens any health risks, so access to Antarctica may be constrained for longer periods.

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"The presence of COVID-19 in Antarctica also has implications for local wildlife, with the threat of humans transmitting the virus to other species."

The hunt is on to find how the Chilean team managed to get coronavirus.

Deakin University strategic studies lecturer Elizabeth Buchanan told the ABC there was a 'large amount of planning that was involved to test and clear naval and army personnel prior to their early December transit'.

There will also likely be additional protocols introduced into surrounding bases in Antarctica to ensure a similar outbreak doesn't occur.

Featured Image Credit: Stone Monki (Creative Commons)

Topics: News

Stewart Perrie
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