An outbreak with 35 infections forces to cancel the scientific trip of the 'Hesperides' to Antarctica


By CAPosts 13 January, 2021 - 10:05am 30 views

The Ministry of Science and Innovation has decided to cancel the participation of the Oceanographic Research Vessel (BIO) Hespérides in the Spanish Antarctic campaign to avoid any risk of spreading the virus among the personnel participating in the campaign and its possible introduction in the Antarctic Treaty area. .

This decision was made after 35 covid-19 positives were detected in the oceanographic vessel, which is currently in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with the entire crew in quarantine and under medical supervision. With this exceptional measure, the ministry explains, it seeks to protect the investigative and technical personnel (civil and military), who as of January 20 will carry out their activities at the Spanish Antarctic bases Gabriel de Castilla and Juan Carlos I, from where the capacities evacuation are slow and limited

The campaign will be carried out with the ship 'Sarmiento de Gamboa', which left Vigo on December 16

Thus, most of the planned research projects have had to be rescheduled in terms of length and number of participants. The oceanographic project that would be developed on board the BIO Hespérides is currently canceled. The technical staff that keep the bases operational has also been reduced to the minimum necessary for their maintenance and support of scientific activities in safe conditions

The total duration of the campaign will be limited, therefore, to one month during which has tried to maintain as much scientific activity as possible, developing five scientific projects and four historical series

The campaign will be carried out with the support of the Sarmiento de Gamboa Research Vessel, which left Vigo on December 16 and will arrive to Punta Arenas (Chile) on January 15. The bases will remain open until the end of February

The first group of scientific and technical personnel to open the bases, around January 22, is in Punta Arenas (Chile), quarantining for 14 days since last 4 from January. The second and final group of researchers will fly to Punta Arenas at the end of this week to begin the 14-day quarantine in that town.

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