From Iceland — First Results Of General Population Screening: About 1% Of Icelanders With Coronavirus

First Results Of General Population Screening: About 1% Of Icelanders With Coronavirus

Published March 15, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

The first results of the deCODE Genetics voluntary screening indicate that about 1% of all Icelanders have the novel coronavirus, Vísir reports. Chief epidemiologist for the Directorate of Health Þórólfur Guðnason told reporters that this is good news, as it shows that the measures which the government has taken have yielded good results.

As reported, deCODE Genetics CEO Kári Stefánsson has been wanting to offer screening to the entire Icelandic population and received the green light to do so earlier this week. Registration for that screening launched last Friday.

While Icelandic authorities have been screening people considered especially at risk, namely those Icelanders returning to the country from high-risk areas, deCODE has sought to screen everyone else. deCODE took samples from 510 people on Friday, with 1,049 coming in yesterday and it is predicted that another thousand will go in for screening today. Of those samples which have thus far been taken, 700 have been tested. Kári says that about half of those who tested positive have shown no symptoms, and the other half show symptoms have having a regular cold.

Þórólfur told reporters earlier today that if the results of the deCODE screening indicated that incidents of novel coronavirus in the general population were low, that authorities would likely continue with the operations which have already been initiated. “If infection in the general society is very low then it’s an indication that we have been doing good things and achieving good results in keeping this infection contained,” he said.

As reported, amongst the operations that Icelandic government has initiated is a public gatherings ban of numbers greater than 100, and the closures of universities and secondary schools, beginning at midnight tonight. The country remains open to visitors, and the gatherings ban does not apply to the international airport in Keflavík.

The Directorate of Health and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management have launched a helpful and informative website on COVID-19 containing everything you could possible need or want to know about the virus, including how to protect yourself, how Iceland is responding, and special information for tourists. We highly recommend giving it a look.

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