COVID-19: Antarctica research station battling coronavirus outbreak

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A research station in Antarctica is battling a coronavirus outbreak, with at least 16 of the 25 workers testing positive for the virus.

Princess Elisabeth Polar Station, a Belgian facility, implemented strict rules to avoid COVID-19 infections, Le Soir reported.

According to the magazine, the first positive case was identified on 14 December among members of a team who had arrived at the facility a week earlier after travelling from South Africa.

Two other members of the travelling party then tested positive.

All three were evacuated on 23 December, but more workers continued to come down with COVID.

All of the team members have received two vaccine doses and none of those who have the virus are experiencing severe symptoms, Le Soir reported.

The station has two emergency doctors on site, equipment to treat people who develop severe symptoms and the ability to analyse PCR tests.

Workers are required to provide a negative test before travelling from Belgium to South Africa, while they also have to quarantine in South Africa and test negative before travelling on to Antarctica.

South Africa is where the more transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus was first identified.

Arrivals to the station, the world's first zero emission polar research station, have been prohibited until the outbreak has been stopped.

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