The COVID rise has hit Antarctica

(NEXSTAR) – The latest wave of COVID-19 cases has reached even the farthest corners of the world, now including Antarctica.

Researchers on the isolated ice continent have begun testing positive for the virus over the past few weeks. On Sunday, the Antarctic report tweeted 16 of the 25 people posted at the Belgian Princess Elisabeth Station have been infected with coronavirus.

All cases have been “mild,” the Antarctic Report said.

“While it has been a challenge to quarantine certain members of staff who caught the virus, it has not significantly affected our work at the station in general,” said Joseph Cheek, a project manager at the International Polar Foundation. told the BBC.

Some of the researchers came to Antarctica from Belgium with a stop in South Africa. The first positive test appeared on December 14th.

Everyone at Princess Elisabeth Station has been given the opportunity to depart with a plane scheduled for Jan. 12, but so far, everyone has decided to stay and continue working, Cheek said.

The station requires everyone to be vaccinated and tested negative before coming to Antarctica, reports the BBC.

This appears to be only the second COVID-19 outbreak in Antarctica. The Corona pandemic first reached the continent in December 2020. Chile announced that 58 people at military bases in Antarctica or on a naval ship going to the continent had tested positive for the virus.

These 16 cases in Antarctica constitute an extraordinary small part of the recent increase in coronavirus cases, mainly driven by the omicron variant. The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 data tracking project has recorded nearly 24 million cases globally over the past four weeks.

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