The Faroe Islands are facing a renewed Covid-19 crisis following the celebration of Ólavsøka (the Faroese National Day) which is held annually on July 29.
Ólavsøka literal meaning is “Saint Olav’s Wake” and recalls the Norwegian King Olav II, also known as Saint Olav, died in battle on July 29, 1030. He played a pivotal role in bringing Christianity to the Faroes. On this day, for the past 900 years, the opening of parliament takes place.
Yesterday (Wednesday August 5) it was decided that visitors would no longer be allowed at the nursing and retirement homes after the Faroes confirmed 16 new cases of Covid-19 in just two days.
It looks like the current situation is just as dangerous as it was when we went into lock-down, Eyðun Christiansen, Director of the Association of Faroese Municipalities told local media.
Annika Olsen, Mayor of Tórshavn, advised parents in Tórshavn municipality to keep their children at home for the rest of the week to be on the safe side.
New control measures were announced. All travellers using public transport are required to wear a mask. Use of face masks is recommended when in crowded places. Bars and restaurants should close at 10pm. All events such as festivals, concerts or large parties should be postponed or cancelled.
At Wednesday’s press conference, chief medical officer Lars Fodgaard Møller confirmed that most of the new cases were from the capital area.
The guidelines for travellers to the Faroe Islands remain the same. All people arriving in the Faroe Islands should continue to be tested up to and including 31 October. Everyone arriving in the Faroe Islands is advised to proceed directly into self-quarantine until test results are received. These will normally be communicated the same evening or at latest by midday the following day.
It was only on Tuesday that it was announced that two new cases of Covid-19 have been discovered in the Islands, and a Dane had tested positive at Copenhagen airport after returning from a trip to the Faroes.
According to Lars Fodgaard Møller, the only connection between these three people was that they attended ólavsøka last week. He hopes to stop the spread of the virus, but it is going to be difficult to trace this time, as the infected people all attended ólavsøka, he acknowledges. At such events, one comes into contact with many people.
The previous time that a person contracted the virus on Faroese soil was along ago as 6 April. The Faroe Islands have registered a total of 227 cases of Covid-19, of which 192 have recovered, meaning the number of active cases is currently 35 (most of whom are foreign sailors who’ve already left the country). The country has now conducted 40,837 tests, 60 people are currently quarantined, and one person is being treated in hospital.
(Information mostly from the English language www.local.fo website)