From Iceland — COVID-19 In Iceland: First Domestic Infections In 3 Weeks, Data Update Changes

COVID-19 In Iceland: First Domestic Infections In 3 Weeks, Data Update Changes

Published July 24, 2020

Poppy Askham
Photo by

Two domestic COVID-19 infections were detected yesterday, July 23rd. These are the first domestic infections since July 2nd.  There are now 10 people in isolation and Iceland’s incidence rate is 0.5 cases per 100,000 over the last 14 days.

One of the newly diagnosed individuals had attended a sports tournament in Hafnarfjörður last weekend and 30 people are now in quarantine in connection with the case, Visir reports. The Chief Epidemiologist stated that the health authorities do not currently know the source of the infection.

A key change to Iceland’s COVID-19 border screening programme was announced yesterday in the final scheduled press briefing of the summer. Only those who test positive for COVID-19 at the border will be notified of their test results from now on, meaning that if travellers do not hear from the health authorities within 24 hours of arrival, they have tested negative. Previously travellers were notified via text whether they had tested positive or negative, usually on the same day, but at the latest within 24 hours.

According to National Commissioner of Police, Víðir Reynisson, the move is designed to ease the workload for staff involved in the border screening programme. However, concerns have been raised that tourists will be less likely to self-isolate whilst waiting for test results if they have to wait a full 24 hours to know that they have tested negative.

Over 70,000 travellers have arrived in Iceland since June 15th: 50,000 by commercial flight, 26,000 by boat and 4,000 by private plane. To date, 52,090 samples have been taken for COVID-19 screening at the border and only 20 active infections have been detected. The border screening programme is now fully in the hands of the public health authorities following the withdrawal of deCODE genetics, but around 2,000 samples are still being tested per day.

Changes to the frequency with which the data page on will be updated were also announced. Since the website launched in March, the number of COVID-19 cases, people in quarantine and recoveries has been updated daily. But the new data will now be published just twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. The detailed data page has been one of the most successful aspects of Iceland’s COVID-19 response, so the move will likely prove controversial.

This article was updated at 15:03.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!