One continent has not yet confirmed a case of the novel coronavirus. It’s a place of barren ice, where the all-consuming cold and darkness of winter is fast approaching.
Over the past few months, some 4,000 people from around the world have watched from Antarctica as the coronavirus pandemic, swept around the globe, reaching all but its southernmost reaches.
“You’d better stay there, you’re safer there,” Alberto Della Rovere, leader of the 35th Italian expedition to Antarctica, said his colleagues at home told him via WhatsApp.
For now, they appear to be right. Even in normal times, only a limited number of people are allowed in and out of Antarctica, with medical workers screening for signs of influenza and other illnesses before arrival.
“Right now, this, Antarctica, is the safest place in the world,” Della Rovere said. “There are no outside contacts and we’re far away from any settlement.”