Falkland Islands confirm first coronavirus case

Located in the southern Atlantic Ocean, the Falkland Islands were among a dwindling number of remote countries and territories that have reported no COVID-19 cases (AFP Photo/Pablo PORCIUNCULA BRUNE)

London (AFP) - The Falklands Islands government has confirmed the territory's first case of the new coronavirus.

A patient tested positive after being admitted to hospital with symptoms on March 31, according to a statement released on Friday that said they were in isolation and in "stable condition".

Located in the southern Atlantic Ocean, the British overseas territory had been among a dwindling number of remote places that have reported no COVID-19 cases during the pandemic.

Health authorities in the Falklands -- home to 3,400 people -- have been sending samples to the UK for testing, the statement said.

"In some respects we are fortunate that we have been COVID-19 free until now, as we have taken this time to plan our approach," Chief Medical Officer Dr Rebecca Edwards said.

"We have reorganised the hospital and staffing arrangements, and put our supplies and pharmaceuticals in place, which many countries were not in a position to do before they identified their first cases."

The disparate group of places to officially remain untouched by the pandemic include Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica.

Argentina, which invaded and briefly occupied the territory in 1982, claims sovereignty over the islands and calls them Las Islas Malvinas.