The U.S. Air Pressure flight left from the gateway metropolis of Christchurch carrying 106 passengers and crew, mentioned Tony German, the U.S. Antarctic program’s consultant in New Zealand.
He mentioned the brand new arrivals will begin preparing for the summer season and swap out with skeleton crews who’ve spent the Southern Hemisphere winter in Antarctica.
The flight was delayed for 3 weeks by large storms, leading to an prolonged six-week quarantine for these aboard.
German mentioned the crews have been first remoted in San Francisco for 4 days after which spent one other 5 weeks remoted in New Zealand, present process a number of virus assessments alongside the way in which. Once they arrive at McMurdo Station, he mentioned, the ability will likely be at Code Yellow, that means all people will put on masks for 2 weeks.
“We’re being meticulous to make sure nothing occurs,” German mentioned.
If the virus was to interrupt out on the station, he mentioned, they’ve protocols in place to check and isolate anyone who’s contaminated.
Nonetheless, the flight delays over current weeks underscore how tough it may be to shortly evacuate individuals from Antarctica who’re struggling extreme medical issues.
German mentioned it took greater than every week for winter crews at McMurdo, the principle U.S. station on the continent, to dig out from the storms and clear the runway to ensure that the flight to proceed.
The Boeing C-17 Globemaster is because of arrive Monday afternoon, the primary U.S. flight to the continent since early Could.
Officers say there was uncommon teamwork among the many United States, China, Russia and different international locations this 12 months to make sure they hold the virus out. All are planning decreased numbers at their stations.
The variety of individuals at McMurdo is about to peak at 450 this summer season, about one-third of the same old quantity.
Some deliberate analysis and development will likely be delayed. German mentioned the principle objectives are to maintain the services operating and put together for subsequent 12 months’s winter-over, whereas making an attempt to do some science alongside the way in which.
“The present should go on,” he mentioned.
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