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04 May 2022
Welcome to May’s monthly COVID-19 update. This edition of the monthly bulletin will mainly focus on the changes that will take place as a result of the lifting of COVID-19 measures.
The public will have noticed more cases of COVID-19 in the Falkland Islands this week, as was anticipated. The Falkland Islands Government would like to reassure the public that there are currently no cases requiring hospitalisation and no one is seriously unwell. To keep the public informed, the KEMH will be providing weekly infection rates announcements which will be communicated every Wednesday.
The KEMH can confirm that there are currently 195 positive test results for COVID-19 in the Islands. Please note: these numbers are accurate at the time of publishing this announcement.
The KEMH would like to remind people not to come to the hospital if you are feeling unwell and have any of the following symptoms:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
- a sore throat
- diarrhoea, vomiting or muscle aches and pains
WHAT IS CHANGING FROM TODAY?
From today, there will no longer be a legal requirement to:
- Enter a period of quarantine upon arrival in the Falkland Islands
- Provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test as a condition of entry to the Falkland Islands – however this may still be a requirement as a condition of carriage for people entering the Islands either by air or sea
- Travel from Mount Pleasant Airport (MPA) in designated transport, provided travellers continue to meet the necessary security requirements to enter or exit Mount Pleasant Complex.
Additionally, people will no longer be advised to isolate if they are identified as a Level 1 Contact, but instead will be encouraged to test themselves daily – meaning that if someone in your household is isolating because they positive for COVID-19, then other members of that household need not isolate, but may leave and enter their property freely, but are advised to both test daily and take sensible precautions to safeguard others.
PRE-BOOKED DRIVE-THROUGH PCR COVID-19 TESTING SERVICE NOW AVAILABLE
In order to help manage COVID-19 testing over the coming months the KEMH is launching a new drive-through PCR testing service. If you are symptomatic and do not have access to an LFD, do not come to the hospital to collect one. Instead please call 28000 and you may be advised to attend the drive-through centre directly at a specified appointment time.
If your LFD self-test returns a positive result, please call 28000, your details will be taken and a member of the swabbing team will get back to you with instructions to attend for a confirmatory PCR test at the drive-through centre. At this stage we will aim to confirm all self-tested LFDs by PCR (the gold standard test) where possible.
The drive-through testing centre will be situated at 9 Thatcher Drive, which is at the bottom end of the terrace. Any students sitting examinations requiring a certified positive result will be asked to visit 9 Thatcher Drive, appointments can be booked by calling 28000.
- Clinic opening hours are: Monday to Friday 7am – 3pm and Saturday 9am – 12pm (lunchtime) the clinic will be closed from 12pm - 1pm each day
- You will be provided with an allotted appointment time, you are not allowed to attend the drive-through without an appointment
- This will be a drive by service. The swab will be a PCR test (subject to change as the pandemic progresses)
- Children aged 6 and over can be swabbed
- The results will be issued by the Laboratory with an initial aim of 24 hours for symptomatic testing
- The COVID team will contact you with your result
What will happen on arrival to the drive-through:
- You will be asked before arrival to please wear a mask while in your vehicle
- Do not leave your vehicle, you will need to park outside of 9 Thatcher Drive at your allotted appointment time
- A clinician in appropriate PPE will approach your vehicle, please ensure you have your window open
- You will be asked to confirm your details, including your name and contact number
- The swab will be taken from you and then sent to the lab for your results
This service is only available on an appointment only basis. You must call the KEMH in advance (and have a booking confirmed) if you wish to have a drive-through test completed.
COVID-19 TRAVEL TESTS
The MOD South Atlantic Airbridge has resumed its refuelling stop at Cape Verde. We have been advised by the authorities in Cape Verde that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated passengers aged 11 and above; flying in either direction, will require proof of a negative COVID-19 test, which can be by means of either LFD or PCR – but must be certified (i.e. not a self-test).
Fully vaccinated passengers will no longer require a COVID-19 travel test when travelling in either direction.
Fully vaccinated is defined as having received two primary doses of any WHO approved vaccine (such as AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer Sinppharm, Sinovac etc) or a single dose of the Johnson&Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, at least 14 days before travel. A booster is not required for the authorities in Cape Verde.
To coincide with these changes the KEMH will be introducing a test to travel service.
There will now be a charge attached for the test and report:
- £15 for an LFD test
- £65 for PCR test
For tests that are booked at very short-notice (e.g. less than 48hrs) the KEMH reserves the right to charge a discretionary £30 surcharge.
Individuals must pay at KEMH reception before going to their swab appointment, swabbing will only be carried out if a receipt is shown. Any flight delays that cause the 72-hour time window to be exceeded will not result in free repeat testing. Passengers will be required to pay for second test.
Please note that whilst the Cape Verde authorities accept a validated LFD report it is your responsibility to check the entry requirements of any third country for onwards travel from the UK. Please note that self-testing by LFD will not be accepted for travel on the South Atlantic Airbridge.
The KEMH is pleased to announce that a fourth dose (second booster) of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination will now be offered to patients aged 60-74.
The vaccination centre will be open in the FIDF complex on Friday 6 May from 9.30am until 3.30pm. The centre will operate in a different way from previously to reflect the need for social distancing. Patients are asked to enter via the FIDF Hall doors where there will be a queuing system in place (chairs will demarcate two metres between patients). Patients will be called forward through to the FIDF Club in small groups and given their vaccinations. Whereas on previous occasions patients were asked to remain in the vaccination centre for 15 minutes of observation after their vaccination, this is no longer a requirement and patients will be able to leave the centre straight away.
Patients are asked to wear face coverings whilst in the vaccination centre and observe strict hand hygiene measures; hand sanitiser will be available at the entrance to the hall.
We ask that patients attend at the times shown for their respective age groups:
- Aged 72-74 9.30am – 10.30am
- Aged 69-71 10.30am – 11.30am
- Aged 66-68 11.30am – 12.30pm
- Aged 64-65 12.30pm – 1.30pm
- Aged 62-63 1.30pm – 2.30pm
- Aged 60-61 2.30pm – 3.30pm
As with the previous programmes, it would be appreciated if East Falklands Camp residents, or any West Falkland or Outer Island residents who may be in town, make their way into Stanley for their vaccinations.
Vaccinations are also available for anyone who has not yet received either one of their first two doses or subsequent booster dose. To receive your second main dose, this must be no less than 28 days after your first dose; for a booster dose you need to have had your last vaccination at least three months ago.
FIGAS will take the travelling vaccination team to the West and Outer Islands on a scheduled doctor’s visit on 17 May. This will be to vaccinate patients aged 60-74 with the second booster and to deliver the second paediatric dose to children living on the West.
The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will also be rolled out to children aged 5-11 on Saturday 14 May at the KEMH.
- Foundation Stage 2 9am – 10am
- Year 1 10am – 11am
- Year 2 11am – 12pm
- Year 3 12pm – 1pm
- Year 4 1pm – 2pm
- Year 5 2pm – 3pm
- Year 6 3pm – 4pm
- Year 7 (who have not yet had 3pm – 4pm
a second dose)
Siblings can attend the same clinic time as each other
Children living on West Falkland will be offered their next dose on Tuesday 17 May, when the mobile vaccination team will be visiting West Falkland and the Outer Islands; parents/carers are asked to keep a close eye on the relevant FIGAS channels for arrival times.
FIG COVID SUPPORT SCHEMES
Since April 2020 the Falkland Islands Government have had in place a number of support schemes to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. Due to the lifting of restrictions on Wednesday 4 May 2022 FIG have reviewed these schemes and have created a number of temporary measures to assist businesses and individuals under certain circumstances. These temporary supplements will run under the current Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme and the Income Support Supplement Scheme and applications will be accepted for those requiring support from 20 April 2022 – 31 July 2022. No changes have been made to the Business Grant Scheme.
Job Retention Furlough Scheme
Until 31 July 2022, temporary measures for this scheme cover the following which are extended to cover employees who are unable to work and have been on the payroll for a minimum of 30 days:
- Up to a total of 5 days of paid leave for individuals who produce a positive COVID test. Total payment for an individual is capped at 5 days leave paid at the employee’s basic salary
- Up to a total of £300 allowance for individuals caring for a dependant under the age of 16 years who is unable to attend nursery or school due to a positive COVID test. Allowance paid at a rate of £60 per day up to 5 days and can be claimed by employers for each employee taking leave to care for an eligible dependant. If the employee is eligible for paid leave, they would be expected to be paid at least their normal rate of pay for the leave taken. If the employee takes what would otherwise be unpaid leave, they should be paid at least £60 per day
- Care for a dependant due to partial closure, full closure or reduced capacity of school/nursery has been included as a qualifying condition for furlough
Self-Employed Income Supplement Scheme
Until 31 July 2022, temporary measures for this scheme cover the following, which are extended to cover business who have started since April 2020:
- Up to a total of 5 days of paid leave for individuals who produce a positive COVID test. Total payment for an individual is capped at 5 days leave paid at the employee’s average income
- Up to a total of £300 allowance for individuals caring for a dependant under the age of 16 years who is unable to attend nursery or school due to a positive COVID test. Allowance paid at a rate of £60 per day up to 5 days.
- Care for a dependant due to closure of school/nursery has been included as a qualifying condition for the Income Supplement Scheme
LATEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE ONLINE
People will be familiar, by now, with the government’s dedicated COVID-19 website. This is the first place that we ask people to visit in the event of any queries, as we endeavour to ensure that this is as up to date as possible.
This includes information on international and domestic travel, vaccinations, public health guidance, where to get help and support and business support; please visit https://www.falklands.gov.fk/covid-19/
The next monthly COVID-19 update for the Falkland Islands will be on 1 June 2022.