Falkland Islands Government
COVID-19: Information and Guidance

01 July 2020

COVID-19 Public Update


More than a thousand swabs have now been taken In the Falkland Islands for COVID-19. To date, 1197 tests have been processed, many of which have been carried out here using the KEMH’s new PCR analyser.

It has been more than 60 days since the last positive test for COVID-19 in the Falklands. There have been 13 positive COVID-19 results 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.


The KEMH has been undertaking the first round of SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing, looking for antibodies to the virus which causes COVID-19 disease. The test is most sensitive if taken at the time when the body is most likely to mount an immune response, which is usually between 21 days and six months after exposure. A positive result means that an individual has been exposed to the virus at some point in the past, and does not mean that they have the virus or can transmit it.

315 samples were analysed in this round of testing, with one positive test result.

KEMH clinical staff have worked closely with the individual concerned and have determined that it is likely that they were exposed to the virus earlier in the year. People close to the individual have also been tested and have all returned negative results.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Rebecca Edwards said:

“That we have had this positive test result indicates that the Falklands were exposed to the virus early on in the pandemic. However, the fact that so far this is an isolated result shows that the actions that the community have taken over the past few months have been very effective in limiting exposure to and spread of the virus, and reinforces how important it is that people follow Government advice. Surveillance swabbing shows that the virus is not currently present in the community, so this result is not something that people should be concerned about. I would encourage people who think that they have had symptoms of coronavirus this year to take advantage of the antibody testing so that we can build a better picture of exposure in the community.”

FIG would like to reassure the community that this result is not a cause for concern, and that current advise on social distancing remains the same. The reagent used for antibody testing has a limited shelf life so antibody testing is only being carried out at the end of each month. When the next round of testing is available an announcement will be made asking for people to come forward and with details as to how to request a test.


Whilst we are confident that the recent outbreak of COVID-19 that we saw in the Islands in April this year has been closed down, this doesn’t mean that we should become complacent. COVID-19 remains a disease that is still spreading quickly around the world. In real terms our risk of COVID remains – even with strict quarantine measures in place, there is still a chance that the virus could get into the Islands again. It is for this reason that advice remains around the social distancing and bubble recommendations.

The advice given is guidance, it is not a rule and you will not be in trouble if you breach the distances or bubble concept – this is just advice for the safest way to live your life through the COVID pandemic. In the event we experience an outbreak in the Islands, this advice would be reviewed and guidance adjusted accordingly.

Social distancing – why bother?

Coronavirus spreads when virus particles get into the body through the eyes, nose or mouth. One route is via contaminated surfaces, but the more common route of infection appears to be tiny virus-bearing droplets that are released into the air by coughs and sneezes, and to a lesser extent when people talk or shout. The aim of physical distancing is to be far enough away from an infected person to avoid the airborne droplets.

Social distancing rules differ between countries, but in simple terms the further away from someone you are, the less likely you will be to catch anything from them. Health officials in the UK recommend people keep at least 2 meters from each other. At that distance, they believe the risk of infection during face-to-face conversation reduces to an acceptable level. The risk of transmission falls as physical distance between people increases, so relaxing the distancing rules, particularly for indoor settings, might risk an increase in infection rates.

Is distance everything?

No. The way a person is exposed to the virus and how long for is important too. Whilst the science behind this is complex, in a nutshell just remember that to be as safe as possible we need to keep our distance, and if you do feel a cough or a sneeze coming on, turn away from the person you are talking to and cough/sneeze into your elbow, not your hands! Social distancing along with regular and thorough handwashing is the best way to keep yourself safe.

And the three-bubble limit?

In line with the advice around social distancing, to be as safe as possible it is important to keep your groups small. Your personal ‘bubble’ is whoever lives in your household with you, and with these people you generally don’t need to socially distance. Our best advice currently is that you should keep your gatherings small (three bubbles). If there is COVID-19 in the community, it will be contained more easily if people mix with smaller groups, and should there be an outbreak it will help make contact tracing much easier.

Again, this is not a hard and fast rule, it is a personal choice. The distancing and bubble advice is simply there as a way to help people stay safe in this uncertain times we live in.

Do I need to do anything if I see others not following the guidance?

No. This is guidance and is best advice – this is not the law. If you see people doing their own thing, that is completely their business. Everyone makes their own choices in life and takes their own risks. Some smoke, some drink too much, some people never exercise. Some people will choose not to follow this advice and given our current status with the virus this is fine and it is personal choice.


ExCo today considered and approved regulations regarding quarantine requirements on entering the Falkland Islands in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These new regulations are critically important in helping to protect us from the arrival and spread of the virus.

In short, these regulations mandate that all passengers arriving in the Falkland Islands must quarantine for a period of 14 days. Previously everyone arriving in the Islands had to be individually instructed to quarantine by a medical officer.

These new regulations are enforceable should someone not abide by the quarantine requirements, and FIG officers will be monitoring compliance with these regulations.

Should anyone arrive without appropriate accommodation to quarantine in, Government will make suitable arrangements for them at no cost to individuals.

So to be absolutely clear – currently advice on social distancing and bubbles is not enforceable and is voluntary. Quarantine on arrival is mandatory and is enforceable.


The 14-day quarantine requirements, both in the UK and the Falkland Islands as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, are disrupting both the delivery of a thorough induction for new teachers at FICS and IJS&CE and school staff’s ability to return to the UK to see loved ones. For these reasons, at the request of the Department of Education and with the support of MLAs, three additional days have been declared as school holidays by the Governor using relevant powers under the Education Ordinance. These dates are:

  • Thursday 6 August 2020 - to facilitate any existing staff who may wish to return to the UK for a short holiday to see loved ones, returning on the airbridge on 18 August to comply with the 2 week FI quarantine and enable a return to work on 3 September.
  • Thursday 3 September 2020 will be a school holiday for children
  • Friday 4 September 2020 will be a school holiday for children. These two additional staff days will facilitate appropriate induction of new staff, CPD, planning and preparation to support a well ordered start to the new academic year.

Children will therefore restart school on Monday 7 September 2020.

Marie Horton, Director of Education said:

“These changes offer a range of benefits, but most importantly they ensure a high quality educational offer for the new academic year with staff adequately rested and appropriately inducted, having completed appropriate training (including safeguarding training) and having had the opportunity to appropriately plan and prepare for the academic year. Over the course of the year these benefits will far outweigh the loss of three extra school days for the students. We’re announcing these changes as early as we can to give parents time to make childcare arrangements for the additional days.

Unlike many other countries, we are very fortunate to be living and working in a Covid-free environment. However, the global situation continues to impact on our lives at work and at home, and these extra days will make all the difference in supporting the new academic year, giving our teachers the opportunity to visit loved ones overseas and still return in time to complete quarantine before the start of term. I’d like to thank staff, parents and students for their understanding with this, and we look forward to welcoming students back for the start of the new academic year.”


The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital would like to remind the public that the one-way entrance and exit is still in place when visiting the hospital.

To ensure that the number of people you pass in a confined space is reduced, when entering the hospital please use the main entrance and when exiting please use the doors at the end of the Dental corridor.

If you are advised by a clinical staff member not to use the public entrance then you will be provided with an alternative entrance.

The KEMH would like to thank the public for their cooperation during this time and apologise for any inconvenience caused.


The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital would like to remind the public that due to the need for KEMH to manage essential workflow and COVID19 patient traffic in the same area, no private or FIG vehicles should be parked in the KEMH access road between the Secretariat and AG’s department and Thatcher Drive.

The only exception is patients asked to attend for assessment and the “Hot” ambulance” and special deliveries. In addition, the public access path that connects St Marys Walk and Thatcher Drive remains restricted access, exceptions are limited to KEMH staff and key workers directly involved with work within the KEMH. This policy will remain in place until the planned review date Saturday 8 August 2020.

The KEMH would like to thank the public for their cooperation during this time.


While travel restrictions between MPC and Stanley have been eased, FIG passengers on Southbound flights still need to book with commercial transport (Penguin Travel) for transfers between MPC and their accommodation in the Falkland Islands. This is in support of existing quarantine arrangements for arrivals.

FIG Passengers on Northbound flights are not required to book commercial transport and can be dropped off at MPC providing all current requirements regarding holding a ZUB pass are met.


A reminder that in line with the UK Government’s guidance, passengers traveling on the South Atlantic Airbridge will be required to wear a face covering.

All passengers aged 11 years or above should be in possession of a face covering when they report to the Air Terminal and must wear the face covering whilst on the aircraft.

You will be asked to prove you have a face covering at check-in and may be prevented from accessing the South Atlantic Airbridge, if you do not have a face covering.

Passengers who do not wear a face covering whilst on-board the aircraft may be refused carriage and will be liable for any arrangements and costs associated with their alternative travel plans.



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.

The pharmacy at KEMH is open Monday to Friday: 9.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm and closed, Saturday and Sunday.

The repeat prescription request box is back in the KEMH reception.

However, you are still welcome to order your repeat prescription in the following ways as well:

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 28011 for prescription ordering answerphone

Please allow 2 working days between ordering and collecting repeat prescriptions

For general enquiries please ring 28010


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:

For Airbridge – Please contact our Travel Co-Ordinator Teryn Joshua on either 07984 096 726 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For Medical – Please contact our Medical Co-Ordinator Gemma Clayphan on 07399 163140 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For Students – Please contact the Deputy Representative Michael Betts on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For all other queries regarding COVID-19 or any other issues, we can be reached via 020 7222 2542 (message will provide a range of contact information) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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.


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.