The Faroe Islands’ Epidemics Commission has decided to extend the period of mandatory Covid testing of arrivals to the country through August 31st. This follows an announcement earlier this month declaring that the mandatory testing at the borders was to expire on July 31st.
The decision is being attributed to a spike in the number of registered cases over the past month. Of the currently eight to ten new cases reported on a daily basis, about half of them are imported, according to Michael Boolsen, Chief of the Faroe Islands Police and chairman of the Epidemics Commission of the country.
Another reason identified, according to Mr. Boolsen, is that Covid vaccination of the population is progressing significantly slower than planned, with fewer people than expected opting to receive the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine offered.
“We’d hoped to have achieved herd immunity by August 1st but we haven’t gotten there yet,” Mr. Boolsen told public broadcaster KvF. “We expect more people to have received the vaccine by August 31st, but we also expect less people to be traveling by then.”
For the mandatory border testing to expire, the Faroe Islands needs to have vaccinated ‘at least 80 percent’ of its population, the health authority said according to news reports.
About a year earlier, Mr. Boolsen notably stated during a Covid-themed press conference: “The strategic goal is not to keep the Faroe Islands infection-free but to be able to handle the infection.”
Meanwhile, as of Friday, the Faroes had 84 so-called active cases of Covid infection, with one person hospitalized. 64.2 percent of the Faroese population had received the first dose of the vaccine, with 50.5 percent fully vaccinated.