Coronavirus

How the coronavirus reached Antarctica, Covid-19’s final frontier

36 people were infected with the coronavirus at Chile's Antarctica base, making it the first time the virus has made it to the frozen continent

Antarctica Chile
Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins research station. Photo: Stone Monki/CC BY 3.0

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic, upgrading it from a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Since, the coronavirus has infected more than 85 million people across six continents, killing more than 1.8 million. But it was only in December that the virus finally spread to all corners of the planet.

On December 21, the Chilean Army reported that ten civilians and 26 military officials working at the country’s Bernardo O’Higgins base in Antarctica had tested positive for Covid-19, making them the first official cases on the frozen continent.

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