Faroe Islands: The Tiny Country that Rejected Lockdown and Proved it Made No Difference – The Daily Sceptic

The approach taken by the Faroese authorities at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was starkly different from that of most neighbouring countries. The Government did not issue any lockdown mandates, only recommendations, similar to the approach Sweden took. One of the most vocal opponents of COVID-19 restrictions in the Faroe Islands is musician and events planner Jón Tyril. Jón wrote to several ministers, members of the Faroese parliament and others in the political establishment at the outset. “I urged them to not adopt the same ‘epidemic law’ that Denmark had put in place, and which gave extended powers to the ministry of health and the police, to avoid mandates and forced restrictions, but rather to build on cooperation and trust,” Jón says. This path of recommendations became the route they took.

By the end of February 2021, confirmed cases in the Faroe Islands were just under 14,000 per million and deaths were at 20 per million. In comparison, Iceland had 16,000 cases and 80 deaths per million during the first year of the pandemic.

Judging from discussions with locals and recent interviews with Faroese politicians, it looks as if a key differentiator between the Faroese approach and that taken by most other countries is that in the Faroe Islands it was the Government that took direct responsibility for decisions and often went against the recommendations of the epidemic committee. Decisions were based on broader considerations than just the number of infections. It also looks as if they were fact-based to a larger extent than elsewhere. Schools were kept open, both because of the importance of avoiding disruption of children‘s education and also based on the low risk to children and low infection rates among mostly asymptomatic children. Mask mandates were never introduced, as the authorities never saw any solid evidence masks would limit transmission. “Masks do not prevent infections,“ Dr. Rana told Frettin‘s reporters. “They are not designed for this, but to protect physicians and patients in the operating room,” he said.

The Faroese authorities never fell prey to the irrational fear and scare tactics that unfortunately prevailed for the most part in the rest of the world. Instead, they showed the self-confidence, the respect for fact-based decision-making and consideration of the broader picture needed when confronted with an acute situation. Finally, what the Faroese approach shows us is how important it is that elected representatives take direct responsibility for all decisions, instead of delegating them to officials without any democratic accountability. This might in fact be the most important lesson we can learn from the tiny Faroese nation.

Faroe Islands: The Tiny Country that Rejected Lockdown and Proved it Made No Difference – The Daily Sceptic