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 and the government continues to review and update its infectious diseases planning.
KEMH 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, using hot and cold wards, should it have admissions of any sort, along with all the necessary PPE and prevention and control of infection procedures.
COVID-19 is spread through close contact with people who have the virus. People with the virus can spread it even if they do not have symptoms.
When someone with the virus breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release small droplets containing the virus.
You can catch COVID-19 if you breathe in these droplets or touch surfaces covered with droplets.
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 9 September 2021
All arrivals to the Falkland Islands are required to quarantine for a period of 10 days, but there are 5- and 8-day test to release options for all arrivals by sea and air, which people can choose to undertake if they are eligible, 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
A revision of this list was made on 31 May 2021 and the policy now states that in addition to the existing visitor categories, friends of residents will be permitted to visit the Islands if sponsored by an Island resident who is present in the Falkland Islands. These visitors will still be subject to the same quarantine requirements that apply to all other visitors. The policy also states that, from 1 October 2021, ‘clean’ expedition ships carrying fewer than 530 passengers will be permitted to visit the Falkland Islands in the austral summer season.
This policy is subject to continuous review and is due to be updated towards the end of September 2022.
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 and it is also the main way in which we can reassure ourselves that we are free of Covid-19.
Since our swabbing programme began in 2020 we have processed 7,531 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 where people in isolation can be tested during their quarantine period.
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. Failure to quarantine 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.
If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact KEMH on 28000, you will be asked to provide a contact number by the reception staff and asked to self-isolate until advised otherwise. Staff from the KEMH 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.
All passengers on the South Atlantic Airbridge aged 6 and above 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.
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