26 September 2023

Antarctic team hot on isolation tips

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Australia’s Antarctic research teams have provided some hot tips on coping with self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) Davis Station leader, David Knoff said that when it came to isolation, the small winter crew at Davis had plenty of expertise to share.

“Our 24-strong team arrived in Antarctica late last year and won’t return home until the end of 2020 and more than half this time we will be completely cut off from the outside world,” Mr Knoff said.

“While we chose to be in isolation down here for the winter, those back at home have had it forced upon them, so we thought we’d give some advice about making the most of it.”

He said the team’s key tips were to get plenty of exercise, eat well, support each other and maintain social interaction.

“Even if it’s only via the internet,” Mr Knoff said.

He said the pandemic was having a significant impact on the Australian Antarctic Program.

“The virus has forced substantial changes in our Antarctic and Southern Ocean operations that including limiting movement of people south on ships and planes, reducing ability to recruit and train new teams for next summer season, decreasing operational capacity, disrupting supply chains, resulting in increased costs and delaying work on major projects.”

Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Kim Ellis, said the impacts would result in the 2020-21 summer season being scaled back.

“We will focus solely on resupplying our stations and changing over teams,” Mr Ellis said.

“As a result, there will be no major construction activities and science projects will be limited to automated data collection,” he said.

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