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Statement from Dr. Kelly K. Falkner regarding COVID-19 and Antarctica

April 10, 2020

To our Polar Community,

There are currently no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 in Antarctica. The U.S. Antarctic Program, collectively with other national Antarctic programs via the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, are working diligently to ensure that remains the case.

As soon as the emergence of the virus was made known, the USAP enacted steps in accordance with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization guidelines. This included applying additional screening measures to all personnel traveling to our stations as well as reviewing and strengthening existing infectious disease protocols. As per recommended protocols, the USAP is prepared to isolate and, if necessary, evacuate anyone suspected of having COVID-19. In the event of an occurrence, all station personnel would be notified, including of precautionary measures to contain spread and protect their health. The USAP has been and will continue to very carefully plan all personnel movements to and from Antarctica to minimize the risks of exposure to COVID-19.

Protecting our people remains a top USAP priority during this global crisis.

Dr. Kelly K. Falkner
Director, Office of Polar Programs

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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