Q&A on how COVID-19 affects our summer plans
Anna: I am pregnant in the second trimester, which means in am in a COVID-19 risk group. Can I take my children to visit their grandparents in another town?
KR: If the grandparents are healthy and not too old, it should be fine. The question is whether you and your children may infect your grandparents. It is less likely that your grandparents pass on the virus to you than vice versa. But this also depends on whether they work or have an active social life outside their home.
Concerned villager: Viðareiði has announced an outdoor concert tonight. Is this legal?
KR: It is not illegal, but not all activities are advisable. It depends on how the concert is organised and whether the people keep a suitable distance to one another.
Magdalena Joensen: Is it okay that my 13-year-old daughter’s friend from another town comes to visit for a sleepover?
KR: Considering the other restrictions that have been lifted now, we believe this would be relatively safe, provided that nobody in the household, including the visiting friend, displays any illness symptoms.
Martin: We have booked a Norrøna cruise to Denmark in July/August, staying in a holiday resort. We have a small baby and my wife is pregnant. Would it be advisable to go ahead with our trip?
KR: A holiday resort sounds like a place with lots of people. Pregnant women are considered to be in a COVID-19 risk group. We would advise you not to go, unless you find a way to stay away from other people throughout your trip.
Mirjam: We are two families sharing a house with separate entrances. One family is young and the other is a bit older, with one aged 61 and suffering from diabetes type 2. The younger family is returning from Denmark and will go into a 14-day quarantine. In normal circumstances, we frequently meet in the hallway and socialise. Should we stop doing this for the next two weeks?
KR: If you normally function like a household, i.e. live close together, we believe it would be advisable to consider all four of you as being in quarantine together, provided that the diabetes is being treated well.
Sanna: How come Icelandic nationals entering the country from ferry Norrøna can wander about in Tórshavn without restrictions?
KR: We were not aware that this was happening. Our borders are strictly controlled, and incoming travellers who are not members of the Danish Kingdom must have a clear and valid reason for entering our country, otherwise they will be sent away again.
Diddan: We have booked an Atlantic Airways trip to Barcelona in early July. The trip involves two weeks in a hotel with a large balcony, which means we will not need to go to the beach. Should we cancel the trip? None of us have any symptoms.
KR: As Spain is one of the countries hit hardest by the corona crisis, there is certainly a risk of infection there. If you do go, make sure that your travel insurance covers proper hospital treatment. We suspect, however, that foreigners may not receive first priority treatment these days, considering that the Spanish health system is massively overburdened. And if you go, it is absolutely crucial that you all go into a 14-day quarantine when you return to the Faroe Islands.
Mirjam: What are your recommendations regarding our plans for an early-July wedding? We are planning a reception wedding. If wedding guests come from Denmark, will they also be required to go into quarantine then? Or is it too early to say at this point?
KR: We recommend that you postpone the wedding. Guests from Denmark should without a doubt go into quarantine for 14 days before the wedding.
Karl: What’s the latest regarding village fairs and music festivals this summer? Can we expect cancellations?
KR: This is a decision for the authorities. With the existing laws, the authorities cannot cancel events like these. But from a public health perspective, we strongly discourage people from gathering in large groups until we know for certain that no infected people enter our borders.
Concerned wife: My sailor husband will be returning home soon. He will go into quarantine, but what about the rest of the household? Can we go out in the same way as before?
KR: According to the current guidelines, you can. However, sharing a house with someone who is in quarantine obviously increases the risk of infection, so you should try not to get too close to people who are extra vulnerable to COVID-19.
Eydna: We have a holiday cottage which we rent out. Most bookings for this summer have come from foreign tourists. Now suddenly many Faroese people want to rent our cottage, and we don’t know what to do. Will travel restrictions be lifted in July/August so that foreigners can enter our country again, or should I perhaps just cancel all bookings by foreigners and give priority to Faroese renters? The rental income is very important to us.
KR: It is difficult to say. With the existing laws, it is impossible to deny foreigners entry to our country. But from an infection prevention perspective, it would be wisest to focus on Faroese renters.
Anna: If a Danish resident who has recovered from COVID-19 wishes to travel to the Faroes, is he required to go into quarantine?
KR: It depends on whether he tested COVID-19 positive or whether he only displayed some symptoms. If he has developed COVID-19 antibodies, quarantine is not necessary. The general principle, however, is that all incoming travellers should go into quarantine.
Linda: Are there any complications if I go to Denmark in June and follow the quarantine guidelines there?
KR: No complications as such, but keep in mind that Denmark will almost certainly still have a significant risk of infection in June.
Concerned grandparents: We have booked a holiday cottage trip to Denmark with our grandchildren, aged 3 and 6, in mid-July. They are really excited, but should we cancel the trip? Is it safer to travel by sea or air? Is it advisable for us to travel with our grandchildren? We are 60 and 63 years old, healthy and in full-time work.
KR: There is no need to cancel your trip. It is, however, recommended that all four of you go into quarantine when you return. Flight passengers sit much more closely together than ferry passengers, so air travel has a significantly higher risk of infection.
Translated by prosa.fo