From Iceland — COVID-19 In Iceland: 81 Confirmed Cases, Disobeying Home Quarantine Increasing Infection

COVID-19 In Iceland: 81 Confirmed Cases, Disobeying Home Quarantine Increasing Infection

Published March 11, 2020

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There are now 81 confirmed cases in Iceland of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, at the time of this writing, Vísir reports. These were all people screened at Landspítali hospital.

The likelihood of the virus spreading further into the general population now seems to be increasing, as does a ban on public gatherings. A large part of this is due to people from the original contagion group—Icelanders returning from a ski trip in Italy—not abiding the terms of home quarantine.

For example, some of the Icelanders who knew they were infected and returned to Iceland opted to take a taxi from the airport rather than get onto a specially sanitised bus, infecting the cab driver in the process.

In another instance, Vísir reports, another of these ski trip returnees opted to visit a relative of theirs in a group home for the disabled on March 1. Although they had not returned from a high-risk area, they were amongst the people asked to stay in home quarantine. As a result of ignoring the home quarantine, this resident caught the virus, and now all three residents and four workers at this group home are in quarantine.

As reported, disobeying home quarantine orders can carry with it fines or even jail time. That said, Víðir Reynisson, a specialist for the national police, has emphasised that the possibility of jail for breaking quarantine should not even be the main point; rather, people should be more concerned with getting other people sick.

“Let’s stand together in this,” he implored. “If you’re coming from a high-risk area, where you’re advised to go into quarantine, just go into quarantine. Just take part in this. It’s 14 days. This is doing your part for society.”

In other news, a student at the secondary school Menntaskólann við Hamrahlíð tested positive for the virus last Sunday. As a result, 50 students and two teachers are now in home quarantine.

The Directorate of Health has extensive information in English on COVID-19, including a handy FAQ.

To prevent transmission or contact with the virus, the cardinal rule is to wash your hands frequently before eating and after touching common surfaces, and avoid touching your face. If you must sneeze or cough, do so into the crook of your elbow or into a tissue. It also naturally follows that you should avoid contact with sick people.

If you are worried you may have COVID-19, have been to any of the high-risk areas or in contact with anyone who has within the last 14 days, you are urged to call 1700 from an Icelandic phone number or +354 544 4113 from any other phone, where a health care professional will give you further information and guidance.

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