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Published: 12.05.2020

COVID-19 initiatives and actions in the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands have established a unique COVID-19 collaboration between health and veterinary authorities which has proved to be very effective in testing people and tracking the infection.

The Faroese Food and Veterinary Authority, in collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer and Ministry of Health, are using the same testing facilities which were used for testing the ILA-virus in a severe salmon virus outbreak 15 years ago. This fully-fledged testing equipment has a much simpler procedure than hospital test-kits and has a capacity for conducting up to 600 tests a day.

On 9 May it was announced that there were no more active cases in the Faroe Islands. All 187 people with a confirmed infection since the first case on 3 March have recovered, and no one has been dangerously ill. To date, a total of 8,450 tests have been conducted. This is equal to 16% of the population of 52.400 and is one of the highest rates of testing per capita in the world. 

Experience so far in containing the infection in the Faroe Islands, with a small and relatively isolated population, can add to the understanding of the COVID-19 picture, and how the virus spreads, as well as in assessing the effectiveness of containment measures.

Faroese researchers in different fields have already started a number of research projects related to COVID-19, and several others are preparing projects or are seeking funding for projects which are ready to start, such as genome sequencing of the coronavirus.

On 6 April, the Research Council Faroe Islands issued a special COVID-19 call with funds from the Research Fund and from industry stakeholders. The first round of grants was announced on 16 April.

Novo Nordisk Foundation, Lundbeck Foundation and Faroese private sector have granted funds for COVID-19 infrastructure and a research project on the extent of underreported COVID-19 cases in the Faroe Islands. The aim is to test 1500 randomly chosen people, nearly 3% of the population, over in a period of 2 weeks from the end of April. Also the largest company in the Faroe Islands will be screening their 1000 employees every second week for the next 2 months in order to ensure production capacity. 

The Research Council continuously monitors Horizon 2020 COVID-19 initiatives and advises Faroese stakeholders accordingly.

The official corona website www.corona.fo provides updated statistics, the latest official information and advice on measures to combat COVID-19 in the Faroe Islands.