CORONAVIRUS

Covid-19: Antarctica the only coronavirus-free continent left

The coronavirus pandemic has now infected 1.7 million people across the world, but there is one continent that is yet to suffer a single case.

Covid-19: Antarctica the only coronavirus-free continent left
BILLY COLLINS

Since registering its first cases in China in December, the coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout the world at a breakneck pace, infecting 1.7 million people across the globe and leaving over 100,000 dead. However, there is one continent that Covid-19 has not reached: Antarctica is yet to suffer a single case.

No coronavirus in Antarctica despite its population being at highest in its summer months

Keeping the coronavirus at bay in Antarctica hasn’t been an easy task, either, given that it is currently in the middle of its summer - the time of the year when its population of scientists and military personnel is at its highest.

In total, there are around 80 bases in Antarctica, which are usually home to around 5,000 people from countries such as United States, Chile, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Spain and China during these months.

Covid-19 forces Spanish researchers to endure odyssey

Although there have been no confirmed Covid-19 cases in Earth's southernmost continent, the disease has nonetheless taken its toll on those there. Just ask the researchers and members of the military who recently experienced major difficulties in making it back home from the two Spanish bases in the region.

After being dropped off in Chile by the ‘Hespérides’ research vessel, an initial party was able to return to Spain in early March, but coronavirus-motivated air-space closures over South America then left a 37-person group stranded.

Covid-19: Antarctica the only coronavirus-free continent left

As a result of the coronavirus, Spanish researchers and members of the military experienced major difficulties in returning from their Antarctic base.

The situation left Jordi Felipe Álvarez, the head of the Juan Carlos I Spanish base, contemplating the possibility of a four-week-long voyage to Spain by boat. “It’s the most likely option,” he told the newspaper El Confidencial. “But we’re trying to avoid it so that people aren’t away for another month.”

According to reports, however, they were finally able to travel back home after a ‘humanitarian air corridor’ was established from Carrasco International Airport in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.

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