From Iceland — Kári Stefánsson To Stop Border Screening

Kári Stefánsson To Stop Border Screening

Published July 6, 2020

Sam O'Donnell
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Kári Stefánsson announced that he intends to withdraw from coronavirus screening in Iceland. In an open letter to Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Kári blames both her and Svandís Svavarsdóttir for disrespecting him, Vísir reports.

“As of today, July 6th, we will discontinue all communications with the Chief Epidemiologist and Surgeon Medical Officer,” the statement read in part. The last samples that the Icelandic Genetic Analysis (ÍE) will analyse will be the ones that arrive on Monday, July 13th.

ÍE began screening for the coronavirus when the pandemic began to pick up speed in March, and the company has assisted with border screening when it began in June. Kári mentions this in his letter and criticises Katrín for not, in his opinion, having sufficient consultation with ÍE when coordinating the border screening.

He also expressed frustration at not having an endgame plan in mind. “Without anticipating the end of our contribution, we could not justify continuing this because our day job involves other things,” He wrote.

When Kári published his letter, he also proposed that an ‘Institute of Epidemiology of Iceland’ be set up to deal with the epidemic. However, Kári’s actions put the government at a disadvantage. As of this writing, there is no definitive answer as to whether an Institute of Epidemiology will jump in to fill the void left by ÍE.

Katrín has decided to hire a project manager who will submit proposals to the government as soon as possible under the direction of the Chief Epidemiologist.

As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s excellent COVID-19 help page.

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