Society

38 new cases and counting – A new record for the Faroe Islands – People told to act like they’re already sick

COVID-19 testing at Vágar Airport (Image credits: Sverri Egholm)
COVID-19 testing at Vágar Airport (Image credits: Sverri Egholm)

On Thursday, at least 38 new cases have been discovered in the Faroe Islands, according to chief medical officer, Lars Fodgaard Møller, and the number could be even higher, as there are still hundreds of tests from Wednesday that haven’t been analyzed yet.

This means that the Faroe Islands have registered at least 279 cases of COVID-19 combined. The current number of active cases is at least 87, (but 32 of these are foreign sailors who’ve already left the country), meaning there are at least 55 infected people in the Faroe Islands.

This week, a lot of people have been tested for COVID-19, after 16 new cases were confirmed in two days. This has led to traffic jams outside the Faroese hospitals, as people waited in their cars for hours to get tested.

More than 43.000 tests have now been conducted in the Faroe Islands, and almost 1.600 tests were conducted on Wednesday.

192 of the people who’ve tested positive in the Faroe Islands have recovered, and one person is still hospitalized. At the end of the day at least 400 people will be in quarantine, the Ministry of Health says in a press release.

A new record

Although some the results from yesterday’s testing have yet to be announced, it is already clear that the numbers of new cases will be at a record high. On 25 June, a total of 23 cases were registered in the Faroe Islands, all of them Russian sailors aboard Karelia. Before that, the record was 19 cases, which were registered at 16 March. With at least 38 new cases today, it is safe to say that a new record has been set.

– The situation is very serious, and the guidelines regarding social distancing and good hygiene have never been more important than now, the Ministry of Health says.

On 4 August, when it was stated that the virus was once again spreading in the Faroe Islands, it was thought that there were three different chains of infection. After much investigation, however, it is deemed more likely that there is only one chain, which originated in Tórshavn on ólavsøka and the weekend after that. Some of the infected people live outside the capital area, but they contracted the virus in Tórshavn. It has also been established that the virus has spread at private gatherings on ólavsøka and the weekend after.

Spreading quicker than before

– The virus is spreading quicker than before, and much quicker than in the countries around us. According to the chief medical officer, people have transferred the virus the day after contracting it themselves, something which has never before been seen in the Faroe Islands. This makes it all the more difficult to isolate, the Ministry of Health says, and advises people in the Faroe Islands to live as if they are already infected.

Once a virus-free country, the virus now spreads quicker in the Faroe Islands than in other countries. Therefore the chief medical officer advises as follows:

– We have to live as if we are sick. We have to take care of ourselves and others and maintain social distancing and good hygiene. Although it is not yet a requirement, it is possible to wear a mask. In other countries around us, governments are recommending masks, when attending large gatherings, especially if it’s indoors like in a store. We also recommend that people cancel or postpone upcoming events where many people will be present like parties, confirmations, wedding etc.

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