A scientific research station in Antarctica is battling a coronavirus outbreak despite its remote location and small team.
Sixteen of the 25 workers at Princess Elisabeth Polar Station, a Belgian outpost, have been infected with the virus since December 14th.
They had all been tested and fully vaccinated before leaving.
All cases so far have been mild, officials said, and the staff continues to work.
The workers had the opportunity to leave the station in mid-January, but they all decided to stay.
The situation is not dire, ”Joseph Cheek, an International Polar Foundation project manager, told the BBC.
“Although it was an inconvenience to have to quarantine certain employees who were infected with the virus, it has not significantly affected our work on the ward as a whole.”
He added: “All residents of the station were given the opportunity to depart on a scheduled flight on January 12th. However, they all expressed their wish to stay and continue their work. “
The first case was recorded on December 14th from a team member who had arrived seven days earlier.
The person was quickly isolated, but others later tested positive.
Two paramedics are on the ward, but all newcomers have been suspended.
Antarctica recorded its first coronavirus case in December 2020, and was the last continent to discover the virus.
The outbreak occurred at a Chilean army base with 36 people who tested positive.
There are 70 international research bases at the South Pole, including five British stations.