03 June 2020
COVID-19 Public Update
Results continue to be negative for COVID-19 in swabs being tested by KEMH.
To date, 109 swabs have been tested with the hospital’s new PCR analyser.
A further 426 swabs were processed earlier in the UK.
There have been 13 positive COVID-19 results in the Falklands but all those affected have recovered or ended their isolation period.
If you have had a swab taken from KEMH recently, it is important you wait to hear directly from the hospital as to your test result and to keep following their health advice in the meantime. You can expect to be contacted within two working days.
EASING OF RESTRICTIONS
ExCo met today and considered the matter of easing restrictions on those businesses currently being advised to stay closed due to COVID-19.
These types of business fall into the following categories: public houses; restaurants and cafes; cinemas; and those delivering personal health and wellbeing services, including hairdressers, beauticians, and physiotherapists.
ExCo has decided that as of this coming Friday, June 5 those businesses delivering personal health and wellbeing services, including hairdressers, beauticians, and physiotherapists may resume operations subject to them heeding the advice contained in the “Guidance for the Workplace” documentation previously released by the Government as well as specific guidance for these types of businesses that will be released tomorrow morning on the Government COVID-19 webpage.
ExCo has also decided that effective Friday June 19, public houses; restaurants and cafes; and the cinema may resume operations subject to them heeding the advice contained in the “Guidance for the Workplace” documentation previously released by the Government as well as specific guidance for these types of business that will be released tomorrow morning on the Government COVID-19 webpage.
In addition, public houses; restaurants and cafes; and the cinema will be required to submit a plan, for review by the Government that addresses issues such as how the business will, where necessary, reduce customer numbers in order to maintain social distancing and reduce the potential for overcrowding; queue management; hygiene; and contact tracing. The “Guidance for the Workplace” documentation previously mentioned provides practical advice to help develop such a plan.
Planning is proceeding for the exercise in setting up a temporary hospital ward in Stanley.
The exercise, called Nightingale Stanley, will run on 17, 18 and 19 June in the main gymnasium at Stanley Leisure Centre
There are no current COVID-19 cases on the Falkland Islands but health services are thinking ahead to what might be needed if there was a large outbreak.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Rebecca Edwards says with testing able to be done in the Falklands, it is likely cases will be detected earlier and responded to faster. KEMH can already handle up to seven critically-ill patients.
She said this exercise is about reassuring the community that KEMH is ready.
"Of course, the very best outcome is we never need the facility, so it is very important people keep following the public health advice, keep their social bubbles small, and stayed socially distanced where possible."
The exercise will practise how, and where, health authorities would manage caring for larger number of patients, if that became necessary.
KEMH will be working very closely with British Forces South Atlantic Islands.
Already-assembled beds from MPA will be provided by BFSAI. They will be stored at Hillside at least 72 hours before the exercise, and cleaned as a precaution.
Because of the exercise, the Leisure Centre will be closed completely from 9pm Tuesday 16 June to 5pm Friday 19 June.
WOOL SECTOR SUPPORT
Tomorrow is the last day for farmers to decide to participate in the Government's Wool Producer Assistance Scheme 2020.
The scheme is a support measure introduced because of the global drop in prices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The scheme offer began on 21 May.
The two-week period for farmers to decide if they wish to participate in the Scheme closes tomorrow ,Thursday 4 June.
As of the end of yesterday, 2 June, 56 out of approximately 72 eligible farm businesses or 78 per cent, have put in an expression of interest to sell wool to FIG within the scheme.
Liberation Day comemorations will go ahead this year on Sunday, 14 June.
However, given the current situation there will be a number of changes from previous years to assist with social distancing.
A church service will take place in Christ Church Cathedral organised by Rev Ian Faulds followed by a Parade and service of rememberance at the 1982 Liberation monument where His Excellency The Governor, MLA Leona Roberts and a representative from BFSAI will lay wreaths followed by Veterans Groups and individuals.
In a change from the usual parade, a joint detachment of troops consisting of members of the FIDF and BFSAI will form up at the Liberation Monument.
The BFSAI contingent will be made up of personnel from Hillside camp and 16 Medical Regiment who have been serving in Stanley. There will be no march past by troops at the end of the service.
BFSAI will also be represented by HMS Forth in Stanley Harbour and the RAF will provide a flypast subject to weather and operational commitments.
The public are welcome to attend but are asked to observe social distancing during the event. There will be limited space for vehicles so people are asked to walk to the monument if they can.
Mr Tim Miller has kindly offered to place markers on the grass slopes either side of the memorial at intervals to assist with social distancing and additional speakers are being installed to enable the public to hear the service. Children from youth groups are encouraged to attend in uniform but will remain within family bubbles rather than taking part in the parade.
BFSAI will also hold a ceremony at MPA around the time of the Stanley Liberation Day commemoration. Separately, on June 8 there will be a commemoration at Fitzroy, which will include a BFSAI presence from personnel at Hillside. On June 12, the attack on HMS Glamorgan will be marked at Hookers Point, with the presence of HMS Forth offshore.
Merle and Bill Christie’s decades of fighting for Falkland Islanders’ right to self‐determination are to be recognised with the newly opened library to be named ‘The Christie Community Library’.
Mr and Mrs Christie mobilised support for Falkland Islanders in the 1960s when the political status of the Islands was under threat.
Their campaigning work with the Falkland Islands Emergency Committee led to the forming of the Falkland Islands Association where they continued to lobby for Falkland Islanders’ right to decide their own future.
The new Falkland College building which incorporates the community library is now open. The new building will enable greater development of the post‐16 education options in the Islands.
MLA Stacy Bragger, Chair of the Legislative Assembly said “There are few people who have done more to promote our right to self‐determination than Merle and Bill Christie. Following the sad news of Mrs Christie’s death last month, Members of the Legislative Assembly have been considering how we should mark their huge campaigning efforts over many decades. We hope that naming the new library in their honour is a fitting tribute to them and that it will be a permanent reminder of all they did for us.”
From the 8 June, the UK will implement a mandatory 14 day quarantine for all travellers arriving in the UK. This applies to all nationals, including UK citizens returning to the UK.
However if you’re transiting the UK, the following applies:
Transiting the UK (without a need for a visa or with a valid visa) -
Passengers transiting through the UK and remaining airside are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate but must complete the contact locator form.
Passengers passing border control in order to transit via another port (or transiting via the same port at a later time) will be required to self-isolate for the duration of their stay in the UK and to adhere to UK Government social distancing guidance. Public transport should be avoided wherever possible.
Transiting through the UK (and you require a visa and do not currently have one) -
- Confirmation of your details (full passport details)
- Confirmation of the Airbridge booking
- Confirmation of your onward flight from UK (ideally any flight needs to be within 48 hours/3 days of arriving in the UK)
- Confirmation of your address while in UK Confirmation and details of your transportation from Brize to Heathrow/Gatwick
Transit through the UK to the Falkland Islands -
To transit through the UK and on to the Falkland Islands through RAF Brize Norton the following information is required:
- Confirmation of Airbridge flight (ideally entering UK only 48 hours before flying south)
- Flight details for arriving in the UK (Airport / Flight number / date and time)
- Details and confirmation of accommodation in UK
- Confirmation of booked transportation to RAF Brize Norton
Further information about visas and border controls can be found at www.gov.uk:
A reminder that our COVID-19 updates have moved to once a week, on a Wednesday.
We will update in between if there is important COVID-19 information.
Our web page, www.fig.gov.fk/covid-19 is also a plentiful source of guidance and information.
KEMH has put into effect its well-developed plans for handling COVID-19 cases.
Patients requiring emergency treatment of any sort including respiratory, and cold like symptoms are asked to contact the hospital on 28000 and discuss their condition with a member of the clinical staff who will then advise.
If you live in Camp please do plan further ahead if needed and the pharmacy will endeavour to dispatch your prescription with known deliveries or FIGAS flights to your settlement.
Your prescription can be collected on your behalf by someone not in self-isolation. Allow 2 working days from request to collection. The pharmacy counter continues to be open for collections from 1.30 to 4pm Monday-Friday at present.
It’s perfectly understandable if you are feeling stressed because of the impact of COVID-19.
So it’s important to know there are people to talk to.
The Emotional Wellbeing service at KEMH is available to offer support in person or on the phone. You can access this by phoning the Community Psychiatric Nurses on 28082, the Clinical Psychologist on 54228, or the School Nurse/CAMHS Nurse on 28080.
Finally, if you have any concerns or queries regarding financial matters, welfare or safeguarding concerns for yourself, your family or someone you know, please contact Social Services on 27296. They operate a 24-hour service and an after-office hours you can call on 28100.
While the Falkland Islands Government Office in London remains closed all staff are working from home to help all Islanders in the UK, Falkland Islands organisations, FIG, and anyone traveling to and from the Islands. Please do not hesitate to contact them:
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Executive Council is meeting regularly to consider the COVID-19 response and make other policy related to the COVID-19 response. MLAs are also meeting regularly to consider COVID-19 related matters.
Committee meetings are resuming from June 1, with social distancing and other public health safeguards in place.
HELP US FIGHT COVID-19
What to do if you feel unwell and are worried you might have COVID-19.
If you have flu-like symptoms, phone the Hospital on 28000. Staff will provide advice. DO NOT come to KEMH directly.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a new or worsening cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- sneezing and runny nose
- temporary loss of taste smell.
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
Please remember the importance of good public health hygiene measures:
- Always cough and sneeze into a tissue and dispose of the tissue safely in a bin and wash your hands afterwards. If you do not have a tissue, sneeze and cough into the crook of your elbow.
- If you are unwell with any infectious illness, please act responsibly and stay away from people and crowds and isolate yourself as much as possible.
- Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and avoid sharing personal items.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use a disinfectant, especially after coughing and sneezing, and always before handling and consuming food and after using the toilet.