The coronavirus has ravaged the coast of Antarctica, the only continent where no infections have been recorded.
Chilean troops stationed in Chilean Antarctica reported infections this week as health officials and soldiers left a remote research station to arrest them.
Military sources said at least 36 people at Bernardo O’Higgins’ headquarters were infected with the virus. It was reported that 26 soldiers and 10 employees of a private company were quarantined at the base.
A military spokesman stationed at the base said all base personnel were “now properly isolated and under constant surveillance” by health workers in the Magalanes region of Chilean Patagonia. To date, no complications have been reported in infected personnel.
The Magallanes region is one of the worst affected areas near Antarctica. Given the unfavorable cold conditions, much of the region, which consists mostly of mountains and glaciers, will be severely blocked for most of 2020.
Until recently, the British Antarctic Survey estimated that 1,000 people at 38 research stations were safely navigating the Arctic landscape. They argue that the virus had recently grown in and out of the region in the early days of spring and summer, and that it has been able to penetrate the Antarctic coast.
Meanwhile, the Chilean Navy reported three cases of COVID-19 among the 208 crew on a ship sailing for Antarctica between November 27 and December 10.
Research and military stations in some of Antarctica’s most remote areas have previously arrived phenomenally to protect against COVID-19 outdoors. Such actions lead to inevitable circumstances such as cancellation of tourism, reduction of staff and activities, and regular blockades.