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.
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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.