Chinese scientists in Antarctica remain calm as COVID-19 hits again
The welcome sign at China's Great Wall station in Antarctica. /CGTN

The welcome sign at China's Great Wall station in Antarctica. /CGTN

The Chinese scientists currently studying in Antarctica shrugged off news of a COVID-19 outbreak at a Belgian outpost on the continent.

"We heard about the situation at the Belgian outpost, but we didn't worry much," Zhang Rucheng, one of the researchers at China's Zhongshan station, told the media.

China's 38th expedition team arrived in the world's southernmost continent in recent days, and immediately adopted a COVID-19 code: Don't visit any foreign outposts.

"Russia's Progress station is our neighbor, we visited each other a lot before," Zhang said. "But we haven't got close to it since I came here."

The situation is the same at China's Great Wall station.

"We have neighbors from Chile, Uruguay and South Korea, but we don't visit each other now," said Chen Shuaijun, a researcher at the station. "We have closed the road to those stations and posted signs in English."

Researchers living at the Great Wall station must stay within 1,000 meters of the outpost.

Zhang also told the media that the risk of COVID-19 spreading to Chinese stations is low considering the Zhongshan station is 1,900 kilometers from the Belgian outpost and the Great Wall station is even farther away from it.

"We are fully prepared for COVID-19 and not worried about it," Chen added.

This is not the first time COVID-19 has hit Antarctica. The continent was the last to see the pandemic as a Chilean military base found 36 cases back in December 2020.

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