Covid reaches all corners of the globe after outbreak at Antarctica base

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The highly infectious Covid-19 has now reached all corners of the globe after an outbreak in Antarctica.

It was the only continent to be untouched by coronavirus, but now a Chilean research base has suffered an outbreak after at least 36 people have tested positive.

It's another grim milestone as the world battles against Covid.

Chile's armed forces told Reuters that 26 army personnel and 10 civilian maintenance workers have been infected at its Base General Bernado O'Higgins Riquelme.

The research station, remote but permanently staffed, is operated by Chile's army.

It's surrounded by icebergs and oceans and based near the tip of a northern Antarctic peninsula.

"We know that exposure to extreme weather affects a person's physiology," Magallanes University researcher Christian Nunez told Reuters.

"The condition of isolation, the changes in seasonal light with its seasonal sensitivity can also be immuno-suppressive.

"So, we know that there are several components that may further affect the person to lower their immune system in extreme conditions and especially with the work they do there."

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Recently Chile's navy announced three people tested positive on a ship carrying supplies and workers to the base, and the army claims the outbreak is likely as a result of these cases – which were reported on December 16.

All personnel undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine in Punta Arenas, the capital of Chile's southernmost region, Magallanes, officials said.

"Personnel at U.S. Antarctic Program stations have had no interactions with the Chilean stations in question or the personnel who reside there," a spokesperson told CBS news.

"NSF remains committed to not exchanging personnel or accepting tourists at USAP stations."

  • Coronavirus

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