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Scientists set to return to COVID-19-free Antarctica

WELLINGTON: In order to keep the continent COVID-19-free, scientists heading to Antarctica will first have to undergo quarantine in New Zealand, the New Zealand government announced on Thursday.
The first team of personnel to take part in a scaled back international Antarctic season would arrive in New Zealand from the United States on Friday, foreign affairs minister Winston Peters said in a statement. On arrival they would undergo a 14-day quarantine, at their own cost, and would be tested twice for COVID-19 before departing for the ice on August 24.
“Antarctica is the only continent that is COVID-19 free,” Peters said.  “Support to Antarctic stations through New Zealand is critical to the safety and well-being of people, including New Zealanders, in Antarctica, and to the continuation of important long-term science,” Peters said.
The reduced Antarctic programmes will maintain essential operations and supply, critical support of key infrastructure and long-term scientific research activities only. (DPA)