SEOUL, April 14 (Korea Bizwire) — The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the Korea Polar Research Institute are pushing for quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to research institutions in the polar regions.
The Korea Antarctic Research Program and the Jang Bogo Antarctic Research Station in Antarctica have controlled all outsiders’ visits and banned all contact with surrounding bases since last month.
Authorities will also secure protective clothing, masks and disinfectants to help researchers respond quickly to infections.
The program has postponed its supply schedule, which was scheduled for April, until after September due to the confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Punta Arenas, Chile, a gateway city to the base.
Meanwhile, the Jang Bogo Station offloaded supplies from the Araon, South Korea’s only icebreaking vessel, without entering into face-to-face contact with the crew.
The Araon has also shortened its New Zealand schedule and is returning to South Korea after canceling the originally scheduled transfer to researchers and crew members in February.
The Arctic Dasan Station, on the other hand, is coordinating its research schedule for the second half of the year, suspending all summer research activities.
“Although the isolated polar region may be considered relatively safe from COVID-19, if one person is infected, it may lead to an uncontrollable dangerous situation,” said Yoo Eun-won, director of the Port Development Division at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
“South Korea will also actively participate in international efforts to protect the polar region as a COVID-19 free area,” she added.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)