Instituto Antártico Chileno

Travelling to Antarctica: Recommendations for National Antarctic Programs

Update: September 14, 2021.


The following are the recommendations that you should take into consideration when planning your trip to Antarctica through Chile. These recommendations will be updated according to the current provisions of the agencies in charge of managing the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile and in the Magallanes and Chilean Antarctic Region.

PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW

Pre-trip considerations

  • Every person entering the Antarctic territory must have their complete vaccination schedule against COVID-19 (14 days post 2nd dose or 14 days post single dose, depending on the vaccine).

For international travelers, a document (certified by the respective embassy of each passenger) with the complete vaccination schedule against COVID-19 will be required (e.g., a digital document with an advanced electronic signature or a QR code that proves that the information is issued by an official government body).

The vaccines that will be allowed to enter Antarctica will be those that are approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Institute of Public Health of Chile (ISP). Currently these correspond to the laboratories:

  • Moderna
  • Pfizer / BioNTech
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Oxford / AstraZeneca
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • CanSino
  • Generium (Sputnik-V)

●  Before the trip, every person must have a RT-PCR test for SARS CoV-2, the result of which must be carried on arrival in Punta Arenas, with no more than 72 hours of validity or an Antigen test (validated by Chilean Ministry of Health) with no more than 48 hours prior to entrance.

●  To complete the Affidavit for Travelers to Prevent Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) – Health Passport on site https://c19.cl/formularios.html

●  For people who come from abroad and have been infected by the SARS-CoV2 virus during the month preceding their entrance to the Chilean territory, they must comply with these Public Health Measures https://www.diariooficial .interior.gob.cl / publications / 2021/01/28/42866/01 / 1888455.pdf

●  In the case of a positive result, the Health Authority will be informed and the isolation protocol for the patient and their close contacts will be activated, following the corresponding procedure (Protocol for the detection of suspected cases of COVID-19).

Entrance to the Magallanes Region

Upon arrival, the personnel must undergo a control of the regional sanitary customs, who will be in charge of carrying out epidemiological evaluation that involves controlling the physiological parameters established in the protocol for monitoring travelers of the Ministry of Health of Chile, which is indicates in the Protocol for the Detection of Suspicious Cases of COVID-19 at the Airport.

Once the procedures are completed, the staff must go directly to their quarantine place, using means of transport enabled for this and that have their COVID-19 protocols.

Quarantine in the Magallanes Region

Any person traveling to the Antarctic territory must carry out a 7-day preventive quarantine in a hotel, hostel or established quarantine place.

For proper compliance with preventive quarantine, all activities outside the premises will be restricted. The hotel, hostel or established quarantine place must have the necessary adaptations to allow strict isolation and the people in quarantine must follow the following indications:

  • Occupy a single room (without company), with natural ventilation and bathroom. For Antarctic Operators that cannot comply with this point, they must ensure that the necessary measures are applied according to their own sanitary facilities. In the latter case, if a positive case is detected, all personnel who shared a room and bathroom with the positive case will be considered as a close contact.
  • Follow the recommendations of the WHO and the Ministry of Health.
  • During the quarantine days, you will not be able to leave your room or receive visitors, so you will have to contract food services to the room. You should avoid contact with hotel personnel or other personnel.
  • On the first or second day of quarantine, an RT-PCR test for SARS CoV-2 will be carried out at the hotel, hostel or established quarantine place, which will be coordinated by the Local Health Authority and INACH. The test will not be taken from those people who have been infected with COVID-19 in the last 90 days. In the event that a COVID-19 positive case is found, the Health Authority will trace the case and determine close contacts. Daily communication with the patient will be maintained and the patient will be discharged after 11 days of isolation if no symptoms appear.

Considerations prior to boarding or sailing to Antarctica

Between 48-72 hours before the flight or departure, a new RT-PCR test or in case of emergency, an antigen test for SARS CoV-2 will be carried out at the hotel, hostel or established quarantine place, which will be coordinated by the Local Health Authority, INACH and the requesting Institution.

Only people who, complying with the above, have negative results (except those who did not take an examination for previous contagion within 90 days) and without symptoms on day 7 of quarantine will have authorization to travel to Antarctica.

Foreign passengers who do not have a unique password to know the results of their RT-PCR, may request an informed consent from the Health Authority that authorizes to know the results, download them and send them electronically to whoever is deemed convenient.

Depending on the means of transport to be used, each company or institution responsible for transport services must apply specific protocols aimed at reducing the risks of spreading the virus and must include all the indications recommended by Chilean or international authorities as measures of prevention of contagion. These institutions must activate the corresponding protocols when they suspect positive COVID-19 cases and immediately inform the Antarctic Focal Point of the Health Authority.

The crews, passengers and cargo that enter in Chilean or foreign aircraft to Antarctica in coordination with the Chilean Air Force, must comply with the provisions of “Administrative Procedure 01/2020 PREVENTIVE MEASURES TO CONTAIN THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 THROUGH AIRCRAFT AND PASSENGERS – IVth AIR FORCE BRIGADE”.

To board a Chilean Navy ship, the Identity Card (CI) or valid passport and a medical record will be required, which will be sent by email.

Before any change of itinerary due to weather conditions or mechanical problems of the means of transport, the Health Authority will have to be notified as far in advance as possible to plan new RT-PCR or Antigen samples. In addition, the isolation recommendations will be extended, even if the 7 days of preventive quarantine have been completed.

Cargo transport

INACH will have sanitation protocols for cargo and scientific equipment in accordance with the provisions of the Health Authority in the document “Protocol for Cleaning and Disinfection of Environments – COVID-19 (Excluding Health Care Establishments). The institutions of the Armed Forces must have a protocol for sanitizing cargo and equipment that contains at least what is established in the aforementioned document.

Considerations to follow in the Antarctic Territory

As long as the State of Constitutional Catastrophe Exception is in force in Chile and / or the sources of contagion and spread of the COVID-19 virus continue in Chilean territory and in other countries that operate their Antarctic bases through Chile, priority will be given to the essential Antarctic air operations such as aeromedical evacuations (MEDEVAC), search and rescue (SAR) and critical base logistical support.

Likewise, the Chilean Air Force, if required to send health, maintenance or critical specialist personnel to the Antarctic territory within a period that cannot comply with the required quarantine, must coordinate with the Local Health Authority an antigen test and upon arrival to the President Eduardo Frei Montalva Antarctic Air Base will make use of the health facilities, not having contact with the staff at that Base, the foregoing will be previously coordinated with the Local Health Authority.

In the different bases, the preventive measures indicated by the Ministry of Health of Chile must be respected, such as: constant use of a mask, social distancing and hand washing, among others.

In the event of suspected cases of COVID-19, the Antarctic Focal Point defined by the Health Authority will be immediately notified and will proceed as determined by the Local Health Authority. Preventively, the patient will be isolated and the need to evacuate the case to Punta Arenas will be evaluated according to the patient’s and climatic conditions.

From Antarctica to Punta Arenas

Any person who stays at least 7 days in Antarctica or navigating in the waters of the Southern Ocean, it will be understood that they have made an effective quarantine, which will allow their arrival in Punta Arenas without special considerations, as long as the Health Authority does not have new sanitary measures on him.

Exceptions

Within the activities in the Antarctic territory, unforeseen situations may occur which would cause not complying with all the measures indicated in this protocol. Therefore, any exception will have to be notified to the Antarctic Focal Point of the Sanitary Authority to carry out the due procedures.

Sanctions

Any breach of the protocol described will be sanctioned by the Health Authority according to Book X of the Chilean Health Code.

Actualizado 16 de Sep del 2021