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COVID-19 hits Antarctica with 36 cases among Chilean workers at research station

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Posted: Tuesday, December 22, 2020. 7:25 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The BBC says Antarctica was the last holdout against COVID-19 – that is, until the Chilean Army reported 36 cases at its Bernardo O’Higgins research station on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Twenty-six military personnel and 10 maintenance workers have been evacuated back to Chile as the virus has been confirmed on all seven continents. The Bernardo O’Higgins research station is one of four permanent bases which Chile has in the Antarctic and is operated by the army.

A further three cases have been confirmed by the Chilean Navy on a ship, the Sargento Aldea, which had taken supplies and personnel to the station.

Chile’s navy said all of those who had embarked on the trip to the Antarctic had been given PCR tests and all the results had been negative.

Chile is the sixth worst-affected country in Latin America with more than 585,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The British Antarctic Survey announced in August that it was scaling back its research in the polar south because of coronavirus.

 

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