A two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving in the Falklands has become a legal requirement, following on the introduction of regulations on the issue, this week by the Islands' Executive Council.
Although the quarantine requirement has been in place for some time, prior to the regulations being introduced individuals arriving in the Falklands had to be individually instructed to undergo quarantine by a medical officer.
Falklands' Chief Executive Barry Rowland said the regulations will be in place by July 7 ready for the airbridge flight arriving on July 8.
As part of the introduction of regulations, government will provide free accommodation to anyone who does not have appropriate accommodation to quarantine in.
Mr Rowland said, however, that where quarantine accommodation is required by business travelers, that cost is expected to be covered by businesses through their contracts to operate here.
Mr Rowland said that while the regulations do include exemptions from the quarantine requirements, they are limited to very specialist contractors, and will have to be applied for on a case-by-case basis.
Mr Rowland stressed that for exemptions to be approved there will be a “very high bar.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr Rebecca Edwards also confirmed that where such exemptions are granted, the contractors in questions will be subject to strict social distancing requirements during work periods and remain in effective quarantine outside their work duties.
Mr Rowland confirmed that for the moment there is no change in the UK’s position with regards to allowing people travelling from the Falklands to be exempt from quarantine in the UK.
Mr Rowland, however, said that “hopefully the UK’s position will change over the next few working days, maybe over the next week, as it finalizes details over the other ‘air-bridges’ that have been talked about.
Mr Rowland added that if a general dispensation is not granted, the government will continue to push for a selective dispensation for students, to avoid the disruption of having to travel two weeks early and finding somewhere suitable to undergo quarantine.
Social distancing clarification
The Government this week clarified that advice regarding social distancing and social bubbles remains, arguing that despite quarantine requirements, there is still a risk that Coronavirus enters the Falklands.
However, it stressed that it remains advice, and therefore not obligatory: “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” (PenguinNews)