If all goes well, starting March 1st, the Faroe Islands will be completely free of Covid-related restrictions, Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen announced at a press conference on Friday.
“I’m pleased to be able today to announce a plan for how to take the final steps toward normalcy,” the Prime Minister said. “I realize this may seem bold. I also realize the situation can change easily. But I think it’s important for the people to know that we plan to return to normal life.”
For the past three months the Faroe Islands have seen explosive infection rates, after having experienced relatively low numbers throughout most of the duration of the health crisis, with a record 729 cases announced on January 18th, however the current number of active cases nearing 4,000, despite all of which the island nation has seen very few Covid-related hospitalizations and casualties. The Faroese health care system is reportedly not under pressure, something the government has pointed to as part of the rationale for ramping down and phasing out restrictions.
“From now on we will see Covid-19 as a disease that we will have to live with like most other diseases, and it will be up to each individual to decide whether or not they dare put themselves at risk, just like with the regular influenza,” we’re told.
The off-ramp plan, which has been made in collaboration with the Epidemics Commission and other health officials, looks as follows:
As of January 21st:
• The recommended limit for social gatherings and events remains at 100 people, however with exceptions to the extent that circumstances allow for.
As of February 1st:
• Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants can stay open during normal opening hours.
• Quarantine rules to be further adjusted, with vaccinated individuals not needing to self-isolate in case they’ve been in close contact with anyone infected with Covid-19.
• Testing guidelines to be changed with people encouraged to use at-tome test kits rather than going to a PCR testing center. PCR testing to be reserved for people with symptoms, who live with an infected person, or have had a positive result on their at-home test.
As of February 15th:
• Quarantine rules to be further adjusted so that only those infected with Covid — people who’ve tested positive via PCR or at-home test — will be required to self-isolate.
As of February 28th:
• All restrictions to be lifted, on condition that the hospitals have not come under pressure and other critical societal institutions function as normal.
Earlier this week, meanwhile, health officials announced that after January 31st, there will no longer be mandatory Covid-testing at the borders; travelers are no longer told to self-isolate until they’ve received the result of their second-day Covid test, which they are still encouraged to take.