From Iceland — COVID-19 In Iceland: 220 Cases, About 1% In General Population, Gov't Aid Package Pending

COVID-19 In Iceland: 220 Cases, About 1% In General Population, Gov’t Aid Package Pending

Published March 17, 2020

Photo by
Art Bicnick

According to the latest figures on covid.is there are now 220 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Iceland, from 2,278 samples taken so far at Landspítali hospital. 2,161 people are in quarantine; 220 are in isolation, and three have been admitted to hospital. These are mostly people who have returned abroad from high-risk areas, with few exceptions.

Meanwhile, Vísir reports that deCODE Genetics, which has been conducting volunteer screenings of those in the general population, has found 22 cases of novel coronavirus amongst 2,600 samples.

This falls in line with previous projections, which indicated a general population incidence of the virus of about 1%. deCODE is taking roughly 1,000 samples from the general population per day, and may screen as many as 17,000 people.

Meanwhile, the Icelandic government is currently meeting to discuss a potential aid package to offset the economic damage, which may include businesses closing and growing unemployment.

“This is why I say we need to take major steps now,” Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson told reporters. “We need to come in with full force.”

While there are as yet no confirmed numbers on the size of the aid package nor who would receive aid, more details are due to be announced later today after the government meets.

In related news, the proposed 30-day travel ban for non-EU nationals hoping to enter the Schengen area—which includes Iceland—has not been met with open arms. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson and Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, the Foreign Minister and Justice Minister respectively, told reporters that the Icelandic government objects to the proposed ban, and are offering no official response at this time.

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