The coronavirus could reach the Arctic and threaten a research expedition. One of the team members of a large-scale international scientific project called MOSAIC has tested positive for Covid-19, while the polar research vessel is locked in the Arctic ice.
One of the participating researchers tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the other 20 team members to be quarantined.
The mission is carried out from the German research vessel Polarstern-icebreaker, which has been deliberately frozen in the ice of the Arctic since October last year.
It is currently located near the North Pole, where it serves as the central hub for the expedition.
An ice camp, consisting of several structures, is located nearby, as well as an airstrip for incoming and outgoing aircraft. It is basically a temporary city built on an ice floe.
The research project aims to understand why the Arctic climate is changing so rapidly.
The Alfred Wegener Institute reported:
To minimize the risk of contracting the coronavirus, all team members who are to join MOSAiC … are tested for coronavirus before leaving their homes for Svalbard, Norway, from where they embark on the ship. There they are checked a second time before being released. The infected person was in Bremerhaven. Fortunately, the fact that he was infected was discovered before his departure to the ship, but it is not yet certain whether someone who is already on the ship is infected.
The last thing these mission members need right now is for the COVID-19 outbreak to reach the Arctic, where the disease could spread to camp members and those on the ship.