Falkland Islands’ MLAs in push for UK quarantine deal
THE Falkland Islands Government has confirmed that it has asked UK authorities to waive quarantine requirements for Falkland Islands residents travelling the to UK.
The move comes as surveillance swabbing continues to return negative results. To date, 413 PCR tests have been carried out in the Falklands, all resulting in negative results.
Reports in The Times this week suggested that the UK Government is considering setting up virtual air-bridges with popular holiday destinations and some overseas territories, whereby travellers between the UK and those destinations would not be subject to quarantine requirements.
MLA Leona Roberts, told PN, however, that if such an agreement were to apply to the Falklands, it would not be reciprocal, and people travelling to the Islands from the UK would still need to quarantine upon arrival in the Falklands.
Speaking at a question and answer session on Wednesday, Chief Executive Barry Rowland said, “We have made a submission. Members have pressed for certain derogations from those quarantine arrangements, including the ‘free passage’ of Falkland Islanders into the UK because we are Covid-free. We have not got an official response to that. We have seen articles in The Times today that suggest that Overseas Territories may achieve that agreement with the [UK] Government, but having checked today, there’s no formal agreement to that or confirmation. That may happen in the next few days.”
MLA Leona Roberts confirmed that MLAs had made representations on the matter “fairly strongly,” adding, “we think that with our status and with the management of the our situation here, that it would be a reasonable exception to make.”
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rebecca Edwards, confirmed that The King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) is set to receive its first 422 antibody testing kits.
Dr Edwards said that health-care staff involved in looking after Covid-19 patients would be the first to undergo antibody testing.
“The importance of antibody testing is to get an understanding of our exposure to Covid in our communities so we can try and assess whether we do have a degree of immunity.”
“Although scientists are not clear on the degree of immunity you get post-Covid, it is quite clear you will have some immunity. It’s a coronavirus, the body develops immune memory to coronaviruses in normal situations, so we would expect there to be some immune memory.”
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