Antarctica has reportedly recorded its first positive coronavirus cases.
It was the only continent inhabited with hundreds of scientists and researchers, not to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. However, it reported the outbreak at the General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme research base on Monday.
The 36 new infections were reported among people stationed at a Chilean research base and include 26 members of the Chilean army and 10 maintenance workers.
In a statement, the Chilean army said: “Thanks to the timely preventive action … it was possible to relieve said personnel, who, after being subjected to a medical control and the administration of a PCR test … turned out to be positive for Covid-19″.
According to the media report, the 36 individuals who tested positive have since been evacuated to the city of Punta Arenas in Chile, kept under isolation, and are in good condition.
The news comes just days after Chile’s navy confirmed three cases on a ship that had taken supplies and personnel to the research station.
Passengers onboard the ship, which sailed to Chile from the Antarctic Peninsula, tested positive for COVID-19, the Chilean Antarctic Institute informed The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs on Friday.
According to regional health secretary Eduardo Castillo, another case has been reported at an Antarctic village where that ship docked,