COVID-19 Update, 1 September 2021
Image: World Health Organisation
Submitted by J Brock (FINN)
Welcome to September’s monthly Covid-19 update.
Total number of swab tests taken and processed to date: 7,531
Total number of swabs taken but not yet tested: 5
Total number of positive test results since 3 April 2020: 67
Number of current positive test results within the Islands: 0
The surveillance swabbing regime for people in quarantine continues to be a key part of our defence against Covid-19 and one of the best ways that we can protect our community.
INDIVIDUALS REQUIRING A COVID-19 SWAB PRIOR TO NORTHBOUND TRAVEL
The hospital is seeing an increasing amount of late bookings for travel swabs – these are usually required when people are flying to another country following their arrival in the UK. While the service is still free, KEMH require an appointment to be booked in advance, so that they can ensure there is adequate time for the swab to be taken and then tested.
If you require a Covid-19 swab prior to travel, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Travel Swab”. Where possible, please submit the following information at least 10 days before travel:
- Full Name, Address and Date of Birth of individual requiring swab
- Contact number that KEMH can call you
- Date individual will be leaving the Islands
- Country you are travelling to AND the requirements of that country (i.e. swab must be taken within 72 hours of departure)
KEMH will contact you to arrange an appointment for you to attend and will call to advise your results.
CONVALESCENT CASES – REQUIREMENTS FOR SOUTHBOUND TRAVEL
Convalescent cases are where someone has had an active Covid-19 infection within the past 90 days and has fully recovered. Convalescent cases are not a public health risk. However, each person who is a convalescent case must provide proof of their previous Covid-19 infection in order to book their seat on the Airbridge. They must also have a medical assessment, performed in the UK, that is carried out to the satisfaction of KEMH, and which takes into account the timings of their disease and symptom history. Any exemptions are made on a case by case basis, are based on expert clinical opinion and are subject to monitoring on arrival.
To book a medical assessment you will need to register with the NHS as a temporary resident, you should also be prepared to pay for your medical assessment as it is not a core NHS service and therefore does not come under the ‘free at the point of access’ principle. For more information on registering with the GP as a temporary resident, visit:
If you believe that you might test positive as a result of being a convalescent case, you must also contact your booking agent (if booking through the UK contact email@example.com) and also the KEMH medical team, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last month, the new Infectious Diseases Control (Coronavirus, Quarantine) Regulations 2021, together with the Directions in force under these regulations, came into force. These will remain in place until 8 August 2022 (unless revoked sooner) and will be reviewed every two months, in order to ensure that they are still needed and remain fit for purpose.
Please ensure that you are aware of the changes under the revised regulations – you can find all of this information on our web page: www.fig.gov.fk/covid-19 – however the main requirements for quarantine and testing are as follows:
The standard period of quarantine is now 10 days
Time spent at sea on a vessel which has had no contact with other persons or vessels since leaving port for the Falkland Islands will count towards time in quarantine
Persons arriving from sea can move to shore to complete quarantine started at sea
Persons quarantining on a vessel are treated as quarantining together
On arrival in the Falkland Islands, everyone is required to travel to their quarantine accommodation in government-designated transport or, if using a private vehicle, must either travel alone or with others who will also be going into quarantine
People in quarantine must not share their living accommodation or other facilities with anyone who is not in quarantine with them
People in quarantine are not permitted to go beyond the boundaries of their property for the purposes of exercise
Arrivals by air from the UK will be required to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 5 days before arrival
Arrivals by air from any other country will be required to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 3 days before arrival
Existing 5 and 8-day test to release quarantine options are available for all arrivals by air, not just those arriving from UK
Similar 5 and 8-day test to release quarantine options are available for arrivals by sea
Children aged 6 or over must be included in the testing programme if adults in quarantine with them want to take advantage of the 8-day test to release option; children under 6 do not need to be tested and will be released from quarantine if the person looking after them tests negative on both day 2 and day 8
Quarantine helps protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have Covid-19. While morally we each have a responsibility to do what we can to keep each other safe, the requirements of the Infectious Diseases Control Regulations 2021 means that there are significant legal consequences for people who are found to contravene the law, including a fine of up to £2,000, imprisonment for up to three months, or both.
The Falkland Islands Government would like to remind people that any apparent breach of quarantine regulations will be investigated by the police and, if a criminal offence is found to have been committed, further steps will be taken.
All passengers arriving in the Falkland Islands are provided with detailed information on the rules they must comply with, and there is no excuse for being unaware of your personal and household requirements under the law.
KEMH wishes to remind the public of the continued importance of reporting cold and flu-like symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact KEMH on 28000, you will be asked to provide a contact number by the reception staff and asked to self-isolate until advised otherwise.
A clinician will call you as soon as possible to advise whether you need to continue isolating or be swabbed. There is currently a high volume of patients so there may be a small delay while the KEMH works as quickly and as safely as possible.
If you have a viral illness such as a cold or flu it remains important to stay at home, away from others, until you are well. Any child with a fever, who is coughing, has a green snotty nose, is not eating or drinking, or has diarrhoea or vomiting should stay away from nursery or school. They should be free of fever and generally well for at least 24 hours before returning to school.
Remember, in order to avoid spreading viruses:
Catch it: germs spread easily; carry tissues and use them to catch your cough or sneeze
Bin it: germs can live for several hours on tissues, dispose of these as soon as possible
Kill it: hands can transfer germs to every surface you touch, so clean your hands often.
KEMH would like to remind the public that it remains increasingly difficult to arrange for people to receive care and treatment outside of the Islands. This is due to a lack of hospital beds because these are in use by Covid-19 patients. People are reminded to take extra care if they undertake activities which might put them at risk of significant injury and requiring medevac services. This situation does not impact on planned medical treatment for people travelling to the UK, although KEMH continues to work closely with the NHS, in the event that a resurgence of Covid-19 in the UK may impact on these plans.
RENEWAL OF THE TRIP AND BFSAI TRIP SCHEMES
In July, ExCo agreed to renew the TRIP and BFSAI TRIP schemes, which were developed last year to stimulate domestic tourism in order to help sustain jobs and operational capacity due to the pandemic and lack of international tourism.
Some of the details are still to be fully defined and will be publicised prior to the start of the schemes, but the changes agreed to by ExCo are as follows:
TRIP and BFSAI TRIP schemes will be open from 1 October 2021 until 30 April 2022
BFSAI TRIP will be amended so that vouchers can also be used for meals and accommodation at the 50% redemption level, in addition to being used for experiences at the 100% redemption level
The 50% Concordia Bay ferry subsidy will be cancelled, due to minimal uptake for the previous schemes
Passengers will be encouraged to book FIGAS flights on off-peak travel dates by offering greater subsidies for travel outside of peak times compared to peak times
To help assist with further refinements to both schemes ahead of the launch date, the government has been running two surveys for households and businesses, to help understand what aspects of the scheme went well and where improvements can be made.
Both surveys will run until Sunday 5 September, so please help us to make the renewed schemes even better by providing your feedback. If you registered for the scheme but did not receive a link to the survey, or if you are unable to complete it online and need a paper copy, then you should contact Maeve Daly-Llamosa at MDaly-Llamosa@sec.gov.fk or on 28422.
We have seen an increasing number of enquiries on Facebook relating to Covid-19 measures in the Falkland Islands, such as questions about travel, testing and quarantine. We would like to remind everyone that this information is readily available on our dedicated Covid-19 website, which has now been up and running for 18 months. The website is updated on a regular basis and features the latest advice, guidance and regulations relating to Covid-19, as well as an archive dating back to March 2020. To date there have been 37,279 individual views of the website since it has been running, and it remains the easiest, quickest way to find information. Please visit https://www.fig.gov.fk/covid-19/
The next monthly Covid-19 update for the Falkland Islands will be on 6 October 2021.
POSITIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN QUARANTINE
NO COMMUNITY SPREAD
Following the arrival of the flight from the UK on Tuesday, 24 August, and as part of St Helena’s robust COVID-19 testing regime for passengers completing their 10-day quarantine period, a family in quarantine together have tested positive for COVID-19. As a result and per Standard Operating Procedures in the Health Service Directorate these passengers will not be released from quarantine at this time.
The quarantine period for the family has been extended by a further seven days and a revised testing regime has been put in place. They will only be permitted to leave quarantine at the end of these seven days if they all test negative from a PCR COVID-19 test.
The family, whose symptoms are mild and asymptomatic, will therefore remain in home quarantine and the Health Service Directorate will continue to monitor them over the next seven days.
All other passengers that arrived on the same flight have tested negative and will therefore be released from quarantine at 7pm today, Friday 3 September 2021. No other contacts have been identified.
This is a scenario that St Helena Government (SHG) has planned and prepared for. Robust measures for effectively managing arrivals to St Helena have been in place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These protocols have been developed in liaison with experts from Public Health England and are designed to ensure that any person arriving to the Island is kept separate from the general public until the Senior Medical Officer can be assured that they do not pose a risk of introducing COVID-19 into the community.
The identification of the positive cases demonstrates the effectiveness of the Island’s current quarantine and testing regime. The positive cases are contained in quarantine and there is no community spread of COVID-19 on St Helena at this time.
Due to there being no community spread of COVID-19 on St Helena the existing Travel Corridor between St Helena and Ascension Island will continue to operate for the upcoming shuttle flights.
#StHelena #COVID-19 #AltogetherHealthier #AltogetherSafer
3 September 2021