New Zealand to spend $1m on isolation spots to keep Scott Base Covid-19 free – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: October 21, 2021 at 11:04 pm

Keeping Scott Base Covid-19 free will cost an estimated $1 million, as people are required to spend 14 days in managed isolation before they fly to Antarctica.

About 280 people will visit the Ross Island research station during the 2021-22 season, including scientists and maintenance crew.

Those travelling to the ice will not stay in the same managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities used by returning Kiwis, with Antarctica New Zealand paying to use Southern Cross Lodge, in Methven, instead.

This is not an MIQ facility, a spokeswoman said.

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Antarctica New Zealand is paying for this isolation. It is completely separate from the MIQ system.

International researchers who fly to Antarctica from Christchurch will use MIQ hotels when they first arrive in Christchurch though.

About 1500 people will enter New Zealand, including 1100 from the US Antarctic Program and about 400 from the Italian, Korean, French and German programmes.

ANTARCTICA NZ/SUPPLIED

An artists impression of what the $306m redeveloped Scott Base might look like.

This is less than half the total of a typical season, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

In a normal season, about 350 staff and scientists stayed at Scott Base, but last year it was about 90.

There were 36 projects planned in 2020-21 but only 12 went ahead. These included essential maintenance and preparatory work on the $306m Scott Base rebuild.

Eighteen Scott Base staff including engineers, tradies, and a shop and bar worker would be flown down this year, as well as contractors and the project team heading the redevelopment.

ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFF

Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Sarah Williamson will be among those travelling to Scott Base during the 2021-22 season.

One of the main aims of Scott Base is to support science and 17 research projects will be carried out this year, including:

Antarctica New Zealands chief executive Sarah Williamson and two new board members would also visit the ice in the coming season.

Despite international efforts, Covid-19 did reach Antarctica last year when people connected with the Chilean Army base known as O'Higgins Base tested positive for the virus.

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New Zealand to spend $1m on isolation spots to keep Scott Base Covid-19 free - Stuff.co.nz

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