you are here: HomeNewsWorld

COVID-19 now on all 7 continents: Coronavirus reaches Antarctica via Chilean research station

Fifty eight people, at two military bases in Antarctica or on a navy ship that had gone to the continent, tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

December 23, 2020 / 08:47 AM IST
Antarctic

Antarctic


The COVID-19 pandemic has reached all seven continents as 58 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus infection in Antarctica.

Chilean authorities announced that 58 people, at two military bases in Antarctica or on a navy ship that had gone to the continent, tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

On December 21, Chile's army announced that 36 people at the Gen. Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme Antarctic base had tested positive. Of these, 26 members were from the military and 10 were civilian employees of a maintenance contract company. It said none so far had shown complications.

Next day, the health minister for the Biobio region in Chile said there were 21 infections involving people aboard the Chilean navy's Sergeant Aldea supply vessel.

Follow our LIVE blog for the latest updates of the novel coronavirus pandemic

Close

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more
Show

Last week, three people on the Sergeant Aldea vessel were tested positive. After this, 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 November 27 and December 10.

The US National Science Foundation, the agency overseeing US programs in Antarctica, said it was aware of the reports of positive cases in passengers aboard the Sergeant Aldea.

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 oversees Chilean operations in the Antarctic. The Sargento Aldea ship docked at that village, he added.

So far no other country with a presence in Antarctica has publicly reported any other cases of COVID-19.

(With inputs from agencies)

Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 23, 2020 08:47 am

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections