The coronavirus has now reached every continent of the earth as Chile’s armed forces announced this Monday that 36 people have tested positive for the virus at its Gen Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme Antarctic base. They said the positive cases include 26 army personnel and 10 civilians of a maintenance contract company.
Afterwards, on Tuesday, the Health Minister for the Biobio region said there are 21 personnel on a navy supply vessel headed to Antarctica called the Sergeant Aldea that tested positive.
According to the navy, three people on the vessel had tested positive last week and now all 208 crew members are being quarantined on the vessel.
Additionally, another single case was reported in Las Estrellas’ village, a Chilean town also occupied by civilian personnel working at the Lieutenant Rodolfo Marsh Martin Air Force Base. Eduardo Castillo, regional health secretary for the Magallanes area, which oversees Chilean operations in the Antarctic added that the Sargento Aldea ship had docked at that village.
Las Estrellas’ village or Villa Las Estrellas is a Chilean town and a research station on King George Island. It is located within the Chilean Antarctic Territory, a territory in Antarctica that has been claimed by Chile.
This brings the total cases reported in the region up-to 58. So far, no other country with a presence in the region had reported any positive cases.
The US National Science Foundation, which oversees US programs in Antarctica, had also said, “Personnel at US Antarctic Program stations have had no interactions with the Chilean stations in question or the personnel who reside there.”