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Coronavirus outbreak at Belgian Antarctic research station

The Princess Elisabeth Polar Station in Antarctica is in the grip of an outbreak of coronavirus. Despite all of those that work at the Belgian scientific research station in one of the world’s most remote regions having been fully vaccinated, more than half of them have tested positive for coronavirus mid-December.

Since 14 December at least 16 of the 25 people that work at the Belgian Antarctic research facility have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The first team member to test positive for coronavirus on 14 December had come to the Princess Elisabeth Polar Station a week earlier. Although they and others that tested positive were put into quarantine the virus spread and soon 16 of the 25 staff at the Antarctic base had caught  coronavirus. All of those that have tested positive for coronavirus have only displayed mild symptoms of COVID-19.

Joseph Cheek of the International Polar Foundation told the British public broadcaster BBC that "The situation isn’t dramatic. While it has been an inconvenience to have to quarantine certain members of the staff who caught the virus, it hasn't significantly affected our work at the station overall.”

"All residents of the station were offered the opportunity to leave on a scheduled flight on 12 January. However, they all expressed their wish to stay and continue their work", Mr Cheek said.


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