COVID at Scott Base

Scott Base by Al Chapman
30 January 2023

After a fantastic run since the start of the pandemic in 2020, COVID-19 reached our Antarctic research station in late January. The first positive case was detected on 24 January, the last on 30 January.

We returned to normal operations the following week.

Safety and wellbeing are our highest priority, and Antarctica New Zealand has strict protocols for personnel travelling south, including a comprehensive medical assessment, multi-testing prior to departure and mask wearing.

Our COVID management plan kicked in as soon as a case was detected; this included rigorous sanitising, social distancing, compulsory mask wearing and regular testing. Areas on base were specially designated for those with COVID, allowing for computer access and recreation.

Our professional team at Scott Base remained in good spirits and continued to provide support to New Zealand’s world-leading science throughout.

Intercontinental flights continued to operate during the outbreak, although travel between other Antarctic bases was restricted.

Antiviral medications are available on base and we consult our polar medical specialist as needed.

We will continue to be vigilant.

- This page was updated regularly between 30 January and early February 2023.