“CALM the Dickens down,” was the gentle advice Dr Beccy Edwards had for residents following the announcement last Friday that some Covid-19 restrictions were to be relaxed. Dr Edwards soundly reassured saying: “We wouldn’t have been talking about relaxing any sort of restrictions yet if we weren’t confident there wasn’t Covid in the community so I would just take this minute to say to everybody, calm the Dickens down.
“There is no need to get overly excited by this at the moment. We are not going to take our eye off the ball. We are absolutely not going to become complacent. But at the moment we have no confirmed cases of Covid in our local population.” She said however that people should “keep an ear out” because if they started to see changes, more cases at MPC or clusters of symptomatic people in Stanley they may change the guidance again. On Friday it was announced that schools and nurseries would re-open their doors on May 11 and businesses and the Falkland Islands Government would restart non-essential work on or near the same day. This week people in the highrisk group have been receiving calls from the hospital to let them know if they have to remain in isolation or can begin mixing once again, albeit in a limited manner. In terms of relaxing of social isolation, it was announced that residents could form ‘bubbles’ in a manner adapted from that being practiced in New Zealand.
Dr Rebecca Edwards said at Wednesday night’s Question and Answer session: “ This is a way to try and help people get back together socially in a safe way so there are not large groups of people congregating at the same time. This doesn’t include the workplace space.” The concept is based on three bubbles getting together at any one time. Dr Edwards said, the key is that you pick two other groups of people to get together with at any one time. Social distancing in school At the Question and Answer session Acting Director of Education Karen Steen said, “What we want to encourage children to do most of all is wash their hands. Washing their hands and good coughing etiquette are the two main messages when they come back to school.” Children will also be encouraged not to go in to school if they are showing any symptoms of Covid-19, She acknowledged that children did not naturally keep way from each other, but said the staff would undertake a great deal of teaching about why it was important to follow the regulations. They would also be spoken to about the reality of the situation; that it was safe for them to be in school because there was no Covid-19 around Stanley.
She said the students would not be moving around the school unnecessarily and there would be no break times as usual. She said luckily there were no classes over 20 apart from one and that would be split into three.
A statement from FIG noted: “We are asking you to identify the people who are in your immediate bubble. In most cases, these people will be those who share your home. We are asking you to keep the number of people in your bubbles as small as possible so if Covid-19 arrives in the Islands, the potential spread is contained. It will also make it easier for us to contact people who might have been exposed to the virus. “If older relatives are able to safely live on their own, then they should stay as their own bubble. If you live alone, and you have a nearby friend who lives alone, then the two of you can form a bubble and move between your two homes. If you have flatmates and your partner has flatmates, you can’t form a bubble unless one of you moves in with the other. Your bubble is like a protective shield to keep you safe from Covid-19.
Your household can meet up and socialise with up to two other households at any one time (three households in total). On a different occasion, your bubble could interact with two different bubbles. When you do get together you will still need to stay physically distant from each other, but you will be able to catch up and keep socially connected When people visit your home, they will need to wash and dry their hands before they touch anything and only come to visit you if you and they are well. You need to do the same thing if you go into their home. This keeps your extended bubble protected. People who provide essential services can enter your bubble if you decide they can keep you safe. These people might provide health services, therapy, or they might provide other essential services, such as plumbers, electricians, or food deliveries. You can let people know that if they come into your home they will need to wash and dry their hands and keep two meters away from you. It’s recommended you keep a social diary. This will help should there be any COVID-19 cases as you will be able to tell who you have been spending time with. KEMH will let you know if you should not meet up with people from outside your household. Unfortunately, some people may not be able to change how they have been behaving, for example if you have a medical condition that puts you more at risk than most people."