Update on international connectivity
The Falkland Islands Government recognises that many people are keen to receive an update on restoring our international connecting flights with mainland South America. Media across the world is starting to report on the relaxations of borders, removal of testing requirements and returning to a relative normal way of life in many countries.
However, the Falkland Islands is in a unique position, which on one hand is very positive as, thanks to the ongoing efforts of our health service and commitment by residents to protect one another, we have had no instances of the virus breaking out in the community. That said, the risks here are very different; we have one hospital and limited access to medevac services, unlike larger nations which have a more comprehensive healthcare infrastructure and are gaining natural immunity due to the size of their populations.
Re-establishing our links with South America remain a priority for the Legislative Assembly, however of equal importance is maintaining our excellent record in protecting our people from the pandemic. Part of that protection is our vaccination programme which gives us a collective defence against the virus, and has recently been extended to include 12-15 year olds, and which we are aiming to expand further to include 5-11 year olds.
While we had hoped to resume flights within the next few months, our priority is to vaccinate our community first. The data on the Omicron variant is still inconclusive and, as we have seen with previous variants of Covid-19, the waves of the infection impact parts of the globe at different times. A cautious and robust approach has got us this far and, with the absence of the vital information on the antibody response to the latest variant, we continue to pursue a course that puts people’s health and wellbeing first. This means assessing our border controls on an almost daily basis, but it also means not putting anyone at unnecessary risk.
We will continue to update the public on our progress in resuming international connectivity, but trust that our community understands the reasons behind our decisions at this time.