(AP) – The pandemic has finally reached every continent on Earth.
Chilean authorities announced that at least 58 people that were at two military bases in Antarctica or on a navy ship that went to the continent tested positive for the new coronavirus.
So far no other country with a presence in Antarctica has publicly reported any other cases.
Chile’s army announced Monday that 36 people at the Gen. Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme Antarctic base have tested positive, and on Tuesday the health minister for the Biobio region in Chile said there are 21 infections involving people aboard the Chilean navy’s Sergeant Aldea supply vessel.
One more case was reported in Las Estrellas’ village, where civilian personnel working at the Lieutenant Rodolfo Marsh Martin Air Force Base live, said Eduardo Castillo, regional health secretary for the Magallanes area, which oversee Chilean operations in the Antarctic. The Sargento Aldea ship docked at that village, he added.
The army said the first group of 36 people includes 26 members of the military and 10 civilian employees of a maintenance contract company. It said none so far had shown complications.
Michelle Rogan-Finnemore, executive secretary of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, said in a statement that the office received a report from the Chilean Antarctic Institute on Friday about positive cases aboard the Sergeant Aldea vessel “who would have disembarked in the ports of Punta Arenas and Talcahuano” on Chilean mainland.
“We have yet to receive further formal information,” she added.
The first three people on the Sergeant Aldea vessel tested positive last week and all 208 crewmembers are being quarantined aboard that ship, according to the navy. It said the vessel had serviced the base on the Trinity Peninsula between Nov. 27 and Dec. 10.
The U.S. National Science Foundation, the agency overseeing U.S. programs in Antarctica, said it was aware of the reports of positive cases in passengers aboard the Sergeant Aldea.
“Personnel at U.S. Antarctic Program stations have had no interactions with the Chilean stations in question or the personnel who reside there,” the foundation said. “NSF remains committed to not exchanging personnel or accepting tourists at USAP stations.”
- Emerging variants of the coronavirus may be reason for the public to start wearing two masks, according to a top infectious disease expert at VCU Health.
- Aumauinuuese Puni survived a caught-on-video lightning strike in April of 2020 and COVID-19 this month.
- Minnesota health officials confirmed Monday that a mutation of COVID-19 from Brazil was found for the first time in the United Sates.
- Ballad Health officials said the spread of COVID-19 in the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region is truly widespread at this point and that we have passed the point of identifying clusters in the region.
- During a press conference after signing an executive order designed to galvanize the economy and help factories, President Joe Biden shed light on a topic millions of Americans have been tracking – how the size of the stimulus check outlined in his COVID relief plan was chosen.
- At a press conference Monday, President Joe Biden said he believes anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by this spring.
- President Joe Biden said on Monday he might be able to raise to 150 million his 100-day goal of administering 100 million vaccination shots for the coronavirus.
- In a study published Monday in the journal Science, researchers from UCSF and Mount Sinai touted results that demonstrated the antiviral efficacy of plitidepsin, a drug approved in Australia for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
- The former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to wear better masks as new COVID-19 strains begin to emerge in the United States.
- Google will soon show COVID-19 vaccination sites in Google Search and Google Maps, starting in the U.S.