[CBC뉴스] COVID-19 유행병이 영향을 받지 않은 마지막 대륙인 남극대륙에 위치한 칠레 연구소에서 최근 수십 건의 감염을 보고되었다고 언론이 보도했다.
화요일 영국 신문인 가디언지는 26명의 칠레 육군 병사와 10명의 유지 보수 종사자를 포함한 칠레 장군 베르나르도 오히긴스 리클레메 연구 기지에서 36건의 새로운 사례가 보고되었다고 칠레 언론 보도를 인용했다.
Antarctica, the last continent that was untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, had also reported dozens of infections recently in a Chilean research base, according to media.
On Tuesday, the British paper The Guardians quoted Chilean media reports as saying that 36 new cases were reported in Chile's General Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme research base, including 26 Chilean army servicemen and 10 maintenance workers.
Chilean media outlet La Tercera also reported there were 21 confirmed cases involving people aboard the Chilean navy's Sergeant Aldea supply vessel which once serviced the base.
One more case was then reported in Las Estrellas' village where civilian personnel of Chile's Lieutenant Rodolfo Marsh Martin Air Force Base lives, according to Eduardo Castillo, regional health secretary for the Magallanes area. He added that the Sargento Aldea once docked at the village.
Experts are worrying that the highly infectious coronavirus may lead to catastrophic consequences in Antarctica considering its extreme environment and limited medical capability, according to the Associated Press based on a document by the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP).
Hanne Nielsen, a lecturer at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, said the presence of the virus may also threaten the local wildlife.
With reports of animals being infected by COVID-19 in various countries, experts pointed out that penguins in Antarctica may also get infected and suggested virus testing for penguins around the base.
The COVID-19 pandemic which broke out earlier this year has severely interrupted scientists' Antarctic researches and operations.
Early in March, the international researchers working in Antarctica had begun to take measures to protect the continent from the virus. Sightseeing trips to the continent were canceled and unnecessary personnel in the research bases were withdrawn. People must undergo quarantine before entering the continent. Some bases also required their staff to wear masks.
In August, the COMNAP announced that Antarctic expeditions and scientific researches would be greatly reduced. A large number of international projects and researches were then canceled. The remaining projects were only allowed to conduct basic research and data collection.
However, all the efforts failed to prevent the virus from striking the continent. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) has already begun studies on the pandemic's impact on the continent.
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