From Iceland — COVID-19 In Iceland: Tougher Rules Expected, Kári Stefánsson Issues Warning

COVID-19 In Iceland: Tougher Rules Expected, Kári Stefánsson Issues Warning

Published July 29, 2020

Poppy Askham
Photo by
Art Bicnick

The Icelandic Government and health authorities are considering reimposing tougher COVID-19 restrictions amidst a spike in the number of domestic infections. Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason is expected to deliver a new set of proposals to the Health Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir later today.

Four new infections were detected yesterday, July 28th, bringing the total number of active cases to 28. One case was connected to a group infection in Akranes and another was linked to a foreign tourist, but authorities have not been able to trace the source of two of yesterday’s infections, Visír reports. The domestic incidence rate is now 4.4 per 100,000 over the last 14 days. Random sampling is being carried out in Akranes and Reykjavík to try and contain the outbreak.

Kári Stefánsson, CEO of deCODE Genetics, stated that “we are very concerned that this virus is spreading again with lightning speed”, in an interview with Visír earlier today. In the light of these fears he has urged the government to bring in new COVID-19 restrictions before the Merchants’ Weekend bank holiday.

Kári also announced that deCODE will rejoin the COVID-19 screening programme during this new outbreak. He offered his company’s help to Landspítali’s epidemiology department and Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason. This comes just weeks after deCODE pulled out of the border screening initiative following a series of disputes with the government.

Four individuals have been infected with the same strain of the virus but do not know how they were connected, according to Kári. This is a particular cause for concern as it suggests that there must have been an intermediary contagion carrier that has not been located. At least two of these people are believed to have been highly contagious before they were diagnosed.

Kári confirmed that it is highly likely that the Chief Epidemiologist “will change the rules considerably”. Tightening the gathering ban and formally reinforcing the two-metre distancing rule have been widely discussed.

For more information on Iceland’s COVID-19 outbreak, go to

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