The British overseas territory is regarded as being particularly vulnerable to an outbreak, given its limited resources and location, and several people are currently in isolation. The condition of the child has raised the stakes significantly, and the youngster is currently receiving treatment in the 26-bed King Edward Memorial hospital, with doctors treating the illness as coronavirus. A Falklands Government spokesman said: “As a result of this, the Falkland Islands Government is moving its response to the next stage, in accordance with our Infectious Disease Plan and other preparations.
Our thoughts go out to the child, the child’s family and friends
“Our thoughts go out to the child, the child’s family and friends.”
The lack of testing facilities is complicating matters, the spokesman said, explaining: “We still do not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Falkland Islands, until test results are received from the UK.
“We hope to be able to test within the Islands soon but cannot currently do so.”
An ambulance outside King Edward Memorial Hospital, where the child is being treated
The Falklands’ capital, Stanley
As a result of the latest development, the Falkland Islands Government is closing all schools until at least the beginning of the new term of May 4, as well as ordering all nurseries to close.
From Monday, the Falkland Islands’ education department will be open to provide childcare for the the children of essential workers, whhile all children’s play parks will be closed until further notice.
As part of advice to Islanders, the spokesman added: “If you have been asked by King Edward Memorial Hospital to self-isolate because you have cold/flu symptoms AND you have developed a fever (a high temperature), your whole household – all those living with you, must self-isolate for 14 days.
Coronavirus under a microscope
“Anyone whose family member arrives by plane into the Falkland Islands must ensure that their family member self-isolates for 14 days.
“If they are not able to isolate from other members of the household, the whole household must self-isolate.
“We are now advising everyone to reduce all non-essential activities until further notice; everyone should stay at home where they can, and work from home where possible.
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A cruise ship in one of the Falklands’ bays
Penguins on the Falkland Islands
“Please follow our guidance on social distancing. Essential activities, at this stage, include critical and key work, where this cannot be done from home. Essential work categories are listed below.
“These actions are ESSENTIAL to protect everyone, especially the most vulnerable, and ensure that the demand on the health service is limited.
“The situation will be kept under constant review. It could change, and, when test results are known, we may step up, or scale back some restrictions.
“We hope to have the next set of test results back over the next few days.”
Advice and guidance is available on a dedicated website, fig.gov.fk/covid-19 and from the King Edward Memorial Hospital.
Speaking yesterday before the new measures were announced, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “The UK Government is working closely with the Overseas Territories to ensure they receive the help that is necessary.
“The UK Government is procuring medical equipment and support for each Territory immediately, but we will also stand by the Overseas Territories in the long run as they deal with the impacts of the pandemic.”
Also speaking yesterday, Andrew Rosindell MP, Tory MP for Romford and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories,
Tory MP for Romford and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories, emphasised the UK’s responsibility for its 16 territories, including the Falklands.
The Falkland Islands are in the South Atlantic
He added: “This could be a ticking time bomb if we don’t take it seriously.
“Essentially, we have a duty, a responsibility not to forget these places.
“They are small places and they don’t always have the expertise or the resources that the UK Government have.”