The Falkland Islands Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rebecca Edwards, confirmed that a “more aggressive” coronavirus testing strategy will be employed once tests can be carried out in the Falklands.
“What we really need is to get our testing platform organized. That is not easy; as you can imagine the rest of the world are also trying to increase their testing capability,” she said.
“We are continuing to work with the Crown agents, including Public Health England, the UK Overseas Territories Department, to get the analyzer that we need. We have testing kits here, but we don’t have the analyzer for that particular type of test. We have another analyzer, but we cannot buy the testing kits for that analyzer.
“When we do get our testing kits, absolutely we will target our testing much more aggressively, because that’s always been our plan: to try and hunt down the virus before they have a chance to spread it.
Given these circumstances the Falklands send the samples to be tested in UK. So far 137 samples have been tested in the UK and 131 have been tested as negative. The remaining six swabs were from the five individuals who have now tested positive for COVID-19, all of them personnel from Mount Pleasant Complex. One of them at KEMH was discharged earlier this week.
It remains the case that no positive cases have been identified in Stanley. KEMH has received key supplies of medicines equipment, and skilled staff, and is better-placed to respond.
Despite not having testing capability on the Islands, with more regular air links re-established, the delay in test results has been minimized.
The next South Atlantic Airbridge is scheduled to arrive Friday 10 April. (Penguin News)