Frequently Asked Questions
This information was last updated on 21 January 2021.
COVID-19 is an illness caused by the new novel coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a new or worsening cough
- a high temperature (at least 38°C)
- 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.
The Falkland Islands is able to respond should a case of coronavirus be suspected.
The Government has been reviewing and updating its infectious diseases planning.
KEMH Hospital has an isolation facility and is capable of treating patients with severe complications from COVID-19.
The hospital also has plans in place for isolating a larger area should it have admissions of any sort requiring such facilities, along with all the necessary clothing, and control of infection procedures.
Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how COVID-19 spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food. It is thought that viruses like COVID-19 can live outside the body for up to 72 hours.
There are things you can do to help stop viruses like COVID-19 spreading.
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
Staff at KEMH will assess if you need medical help and advise you what to do. Do NOT go to the hospital but ring 28000 first if:
- you think you might have COVID-19
- you've recently been to a country or area with a high risk of COVID-19
- you've been in close contact with someone with COVID-19
Updated 21 January 2021
All arrivals to the Falkland Islands are required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, unless they receive an exemption from the government. For more information on quarantine regulations, please visit this part of the website: Quarantine
Since 7 April 2020, visitor permits have not been granted for non-essential visitors. The purpose of the restrictions is to reduce any unnecessary additional burden on KEMH and to minimise additional risk of COVID-19.
Under this policy, the following have been considered essential visitors:
- Business visitors required for essential maintenance on equipment, which cannot continue to be operated without the maintenance e.g. engineers visiting KEMH
- Crew from vessels associated with the Falkland Islands and the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands for the purpose of exchange and/or repatriation
- Scientific and other maritime observers associated with the Falkland Islands and SGSSI for exchange and/or repatriation purposes
- Individuals already present in the Falkland Islands when LATAM flights were suspended
- Members of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and associated organisations
Executive Council has agreed that the Principal Immigration Officer be authorised to consider the following as additions to the essential visitor list:
- Family members
- Business visitors for the purpose of delivering projects within the Islands Plan
- Other business visitors
- Crew from vessels with no connection to the Falkland Islands for the purpose of exchange and/or repatriation where onward travel arrangements are confirmed and in place
This policy is subject to continuous review and will be updated should further changes be brought into force.
When health authorities are aware of a possible case, or cases, there is a clear process that is followed.
If it is thought possible or probable that the person or persons may have been exposed to COVID-19, testing would be carried out, while the person or persons would be asked to self-isolate. Depending upon what symptoms the individual has, their household may also be asked to self-isolate.
As soon as someone is confirmed as having Covid-19 then contact tracing would begin and a wider group of people would be advised to self-isolate and come forward for testing.
Yes, we can test in the Falkland Islands and we have a comprehensive swabbing system which uses both PCR and lateral flow tests.
Swabbing is a vital tool in helping to keep everyone safe, in particular high-risk individuals. It is also the main way in which we can reassure ourselves that we are free of Covid-19.
In 2020 alone we processed 5,463 swab tests for Covid-19. We offer swab testing for symptomatic people, community surveillance and for people needing a test before travelling abroad. We also run a quarantine swabbing programme whereby people in isolation can be tested three times fort the virus.
Self-isolation is a responsible action taken to protect yourself or others. You should follow the guidance according to your circumstances and the medical advice provided to you from KEMH. For all of the latest information on how to self-isolate, please visit this page on the website: General information
Quarantine is a legal requirement in the Falkland Islands and everyone travelling to the Islands must spent their first 14 days on arrival in quarantine. Failure to do so could result in a fine, a prison term, or both. For all of the latest information on quarantining, please visit this page on the website: Quarantine
There is currently no specific treatment for COVID-19.
Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
You'll need to stay in isolation away from other people until you've recovered.
Health authorities will stay in contact, monitoring your care. They will make any decisions regarding whether you might need a higher level of care in hospital.
People of all ages can get COVID-19. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more likely to become severely ill with the virus.
Everyone should follow simple measures to stop viruses like COVID-19 spreading, for example by washing their hands often with soap and water.
There is currently no evidence that you can catch COVID-19 from parcels and letters. Viruses like COVID-19 cannot live for very long outside the body.
There is currently no evidence that you can catch COVID-19 from food. But it's always a good idea to wash your hands in soap and water or use hand sanitiser gel before you prepare or eat food.
In line with the UK government’s guidance, all passengers aged 11 and above traveling on the South Atlantic Airbridge are required to wear a face covering. On arrival into the terminal building at Mount Pleasant Complex, they will be asked to change into a fresh mask, which will be provided for them.
In line with the UK government’s guidance, all passengers aged 11 and above traveling on the South Atlantic Airbridge are required to wear gloves. On arrival into the terminal building at Mount Pleasant Complex, they will be asked to change into fresh gloves, which will be provided for them.
Yes, there are now vaccines available for Covid-19 and the version that will used as part of the Falkland Islands vaccination programme is the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. For all of the latest information on vaccination, please visit this page on the website: Vaccinations