The latest on the corona situation

19.03.2020 - 12:22
The latest on the corona situation
Below are the key points from the 11am news conference outlining the latest corona developments in the Faroe Islands
The news conference took place in the foyer of the Kringvarp Føroya building

The news conference featured Chief Medical Officer Lars Fodgaard Møller, consultant doctor Bjarni á Steig and COO of the National Hospital Margit Stórá

  • The relatively high number of people who have tested positive in the Faroes is due to the unusually high number of tests being carried out here. Relative to the population, about 20 times more tests are being carried out in the Faroes than in Denmark.
  • This strong focus on testing is part of efforts to spread the infection over as long a period as possible, as it this is believed to be the best long-term plan for the health system and society as a whole.
  • Some 600 people are currently in quarantine.
  • The steady daily number of positive tests is a good sign, as opposed to the exponential growth seen in other countries.
  • The Faroese public has done well to respect quarantine policies, especially after warnings from health authorities of individual cases of inconsistent quarantine adherence.
  • Updated information is available at and on the corona helpline on 304040, which is open on weekdays 8am-9pm and on weekends 10am-3pm.
  • People are asked to be patient as there is high pressure on the phone lines to doctors and health authorities.
  • Daily procedures at the country’s three hospitals are drastically affected by the pandemic. Major changes have been made to work procedures, for instance by splitting staff into small units to reduce the risk of infection across hospital units.
  • The positive results of the Faroese approach to the pandemic is e.g. evidenced by experiences with the four infected hospital staff members. When the first person was infected, 14 others were quarantined. When the fourth person was infected, only four were quarantined.
  • Although the pandemic has drastically affected hospital procedures, medical staff is still capable of performing non-corona related tasks.

Q&A session

  • When asked for an estimate of the daily number of positive tests over the coming days, Møller said he expects to see a small increase on the current daily figures.
  • In case of a significant rise in infections in a particular area, it may become necessary to ban travel to and from this area.
  • The decision to close down schools and daycare centres for two weeks was made after two people had tested positive. Møller believes it is right to keep these institutions closed for the time being.
  • The first people to be infected have not passed the virus on to others, but some of those subsequently infected have. Møller says this may indicate slightly different strains of the Covid-19 virus, which may have different infection routes.
  • So far, only one person aged over 70 has tested positive. A large majority are young people, probably because young people tend to travel more and perhaps also socialise more than older people. Health authorities also made great initial efforts to protect the elderly population.
  • It is believed that once a person has been infected and recovered, this person has developed immunity to the Covid-19 virus. This means that a recovered person can safely be in contact with quarantined family members.
  • It is currently not possible to determine when people with non-corona related conditions can receive treatment.
  • Some 150 people have so far offered to volunteer in hospitals. The volunteer work has so far mostly consisted of cleaning assistance. Many students of medicine-related subjects are included in the team of volunteers.

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