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|2020 coronavirus pandemic in the Faroe Islands|
|First outbreak||Wuhan, China (globally),|
Paris, France (origin of first Faroese case)
|Arrival date||4 March 2020|
(4 weeks and 2 days)
|Severe cases||0 (1 hospitalized but not in ICU)|
The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have reached the Faroe Islands, an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark, in March 2020. With population of 51,783 ( as of 2019 ), on 29 March infection rate is 1 case per 325 inhabitants.
The significant salmon farming on the islands requires test equipment to check for Salmon isavirus, which was repurposed in 2009 against the Pandemic H1N1/09 virus. The equipment was adapted to test for COVID-19, and ready by February 2020 to test 600 per day instead of waiting days for samples to be sent to Denmark for testing. The usual epidemic strategy of testing and tracking disease cases has been abandoned in most countries because their health care system has been overwhelmed. The Faroe Islands is seen as an exception due to its large testing capacity relative to its population size; a miniature laboratory with lessons on how to handle the disease.
Below is a detailed description of how the virus spread according to news media in the Faroe Islands. Results were announced in the morning. These results were from swabs taken the day before.
On 4 March 2020, the Faroe Islands had its first confirmed case, a man who on 24 February returned home from a conference in Paris, France. He had mild symptoms, and was placed in home quarantine.
There was a lot of news coverage on the field trips of 300 students and teachers to France, because Glasir (Tórshavn College) decided to cancel the trip because of the corona outbreak, especially after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark had changed France from a green area to a yellow area, meaning that the recommendation went from "Be attentive" to "Be extra cautious."
The society slows down. Following the announcement on the evening of Wednesday 11 March, that Denmark would be shutting down, the Faroese government had a press conference on Thursday morning at 9:00 am announcing the measures that would be put in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Faroe Islands. The recommendations were as follows:
Shortly after this announcement, Smyril Line announced that they would stop transporting passengers. They would allow the last passengers to get home, but with measures to prevent infected people to get on board, such as vetting them and checking their temperature, before they were allowed entry.
On 13 March, the third case was confirmed. There were 23 tests made the day before, and the only positive one was a woman who came from Denmark on 9 March. The woman went to work in a kindergarten in Klaksvík on 10 March, which meant that her coworkers, children, children's parents and grandparents, as well as her friends were quarantined. Around 100 people were quarantined.
On Friday evening, two new cases were confirmed, but these results belong to the statistics for confirmed cases on Saturday.
The fourth Faroe Islander was confirmed positive. This person was a student at Glasir, Tórshavn College, and he or she was infected on a study tour to Portugal. The students had not been to school since they returned from their trip.
On 15 March, there were two confirmed cases, bringing the total count up to 11. On this date it was confirmed that 7 of the 11 infected were infected in other countries, while two were infected by people who already tested positive and were in quarantine. Altogether there had been administered 327 tests. The two people who were infected in the Faroe Islands were staff at the kindergarten in Klaksvík where the infected woman worked. By 15 March 327 people had been tested and 122 people were in quarantine.
Before business resumed on Monday, the Faroese government announced four ways they would help businesses get through this crisis.
On 16 March, seven new cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 18. These seven positive results came out of 190 tests made the day before, which means that there were 517 tests administered altogether.
On 17 March 29 new cases were confirmed, expanding the total number to 47. There were 190 tests administered the day before, bringing the total number of tests for COVID-19 to 703.
The Faroese Epidemic Commission advised people not to gather in groups. They said that no more than 10 people should be together at once, inside or outside.
The Chief Medical Officer in the Faroe Islands announced that at this point, most people have been infected within the Faroe Islands. Most of the infected live in Tórshavn or Klaksvík. Klaksvíkar sjúkrahús started to test for COVID-19, making it easier for people in Eysturoy and the Northern Islands to get tested.
Three employees at the National Hospital of the Faroe Islands were confirmed positive, bringing the total number of infected employees at this hospital to four.
Scandinavian Airlines stopped flying to the Faroe Islands on 17 March. The same day was the last day that Atlantic Airways was transporting passengers on their flights. Now they are only flying essential personnel and patients between Vagar Airport and Copenhagen Airport.
On 18 March 11 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total up to 58. 933 people have now been tested altogether, so 230 tests were administered on Tuesday, and 247 people are in quarantine.
The person who was first confirmed infected was confirmed recovered on 18 March. He and his family had been in quarantine at home, but they were now relieved from quarantine. They are all tested negative. He first started to show symptoms on 29 February and the people he had been in contact with, who were quarantined at home or at Hotel Vágar, have also been relieved from quarantine.
Magn and Effo announced that they would close all gas station shops on Thursday 19 March in order to limit the spread of the virus. It was still possible to buy gasoline and diesel with credit card, as it was only the shops that were closed.
Several ferries restricted the number of passengers.
On 19 March 14 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total up to 72. 1,221 people have now been tested altogether, meaning that there were 288 people tested on Wednesday.
On this day, a lot of volunteers signed up to work at hospitals and nursing homes. 150 people signed up to help in the hospital, in case the hospital system would need extra staff. 93 people signed up to help nursing homes in two municipalities. People who volunteered were medical students, retired nurses, nurse students, assistant nurse students, health visitor students, and educators from kindergartens that were closed anyway.
By March 20, 8 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total up to 80. There were 420 people tested on Thursday 19 March, bringing the total number of administered tests to 1,641. The third infected person was confirmed recovered. More than 675 people were in quarantine on this day. The Social Services system reported that it was operational, with reserve staff available. No users had been infected.
On a press conference held on 20 March it was announced that all the changes the government had previously implemented for two weeks would last until 13 April, which was Easter Monday.
On this day, Betri, a Faroese bank, insurance company and pension provider decided to donate DKK 10 million (equivalent of US$1.4 million) to Sjúkrahúsverk Føroya (the Faroese Hospital Service). The money was to be used for equipment and supplies that would help fight the coronavirus.
5,000 people were expected to join the special crisis system set up within ASL, the Faroese Employment Office, on Monday, where they would get paid up to DKK 20,000 DKK a month. If 5,000 people would join, it was expected that this special system would cost DKK 108 million per month. For example, around 180 people working for Atlantic Airways were signed up for this system, since the national airline had cancelled all commercial flights and would only be handling 3 flights per week between Vágar and Copenhagen. The airline would primarily be flying patients and Faroe Islanders who were working abroad.
On 21 March there were 12 new confirmed cases, bringing the total up to 92. It was also announced that so far, no one in the Faroe Islands had died from the coronavirus pandemic. Above 600 people were in quarantine. 11 people were confirmed to have recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recovered people up to 14. This means that 14 people out of the 92 infected have recovered, leaving 78 people still infected. There had been made 301 tests the day before, bringing the total number of tests administered to 1942.The national broadcasting showed a collage video of people singing together safely from individual homes as a way of keeping up spirits.
The gender split is equal among the people tested positive.
Below is an overview of the data presented above.