A BP worker has tested positive for the coronavirus at the UK supermajor’s Prudhoe Bay oilfield on Alaska's North Slope.

A BP spokesperson confirmed a worker had tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, while also revealing the company was putting a halt to “non-essential” activity at North Slope.

Someone who got screened and then got up to the slope and then started to feel ill

Alaskan chief medical officer Anne Zink

“BP is following procedures and protocols to minimise the risk of Covid-19 and ensure the safety of our people,” the spokesperson told Upstream.

“We are eliminating all non-essential activity on the slope. The safety and wellbeing of staff and contractors and respect for the communities in which we operate is our highest priority.”

Alaska’s chief medical officer Anne Zink confirmed during a press conference on Tuesday the worker had been screened before going to the field, but started to feel ill once they arrived.

“One of the tricky things about this disease is that people can be either completely asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and despite screening, and even potentially testing, it doesn’t necessarily prevent someone from feeling fine and then going some place and then starting to develop symptoms,” she said.

“That’s why we are doing all this work for social distancing and keeping people apart for these 14 days, and this (the BP case) was an example of that. Someone who got screened and then got up to the slope and then started to feel ill.”

Zink also confirmed that other BP workers had been isolated, while also praising BP for its response plan that it had in place for the virus which allowed to act quickly.

BP is currently in the process of selling its Alaskan assets, including Prudhoe Bay, to private US company Hilcorp, with the pair agreeing a $5.6 billion deal in August last year.

The Covid-19 case at Prudhoe Bay is understood this is the first confirmed coronavirus case on Alaska’s North Slope, while there have been 133 confirmed cases in the state of Alaska and three deaths.

The cases in Alaska however are a mere fraction of the more than 189,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, which has also resulted in more than 4000 deaths.