While the rest of the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, one continent has managed to remain entirely free of the infection.
Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth, is now considered the “safest place in the world,” with no confirmed cases at all.
The region had a close brush with Covid-19 when outbreaks hit the final cruise ships of the season, but the virus didn’t reach its frozen shores. And, because it’s currently descending into winter, when it’s completely cut off, it should stay that way for now.
Although there’s no official native population here — unless you count the many penguins, whales, seals and albatrosses — around 5,000 people, mostly scientists and researchers, currently reside in its 80 or so bases.
Keri Nelson, an administrative coordinator at Anvers Island’s Palmer Station, the most northerly US station in Antarctica, is one of them.
“I really don’t think there’s a person here right now who isn’t grateful to be here, and to be safe,” she tells CNN Travel via email.
“Some people are ready to head back home. To help people they love, and to be of use in other ways during this time in history.
“But all of us are very appreciative to be living in a place where this disease (and all of the health and lifestyle implications thereof) are absent.”