deCODE CEO: Tourism Boosts Risk Of Second Coronavirus Wave; Police Chief Calls For Unity

deCODE CEO: Tourism Boosts Risk Of Second Coronavirus Wave; Police Chief Calls For Unity

Published August 10, 2020

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Kári Stefánsson, the CEO of deCODE Genetics, told RÚV that the more tourists come to Iceland, the greater the risks that the virus spreads across the country. Meanwhile, chief of police Víðir Reynisson has called upon the general public to stop pointing fingers at one another when it comes to the second wave, and for instead everyone to do their part in flattening the curve.

In Kári’s interview with RÚV, he said he believes that there needs to be stricter enforcement of border policy with regards to border screening, isolation, and then second screening before joining the general public in Iceland. He conceded that it is unknown whether the resurgence of the coronavirus in Iceland was due to a foreign tourist or an Icelandic resident, but emphasised the need for tighter controls.

The discourse around opening the borders, coupled with the resurgence of cases of coronavirus in Iceland, has certainly been heated, with many drawing a direct correlation between loosening the border restrictions on June 15th with a burgeoning second wave.

However, the matter is not quite this black-and-white. Today’s news about restaurants and clubs violating social distancing rules, and Icelanders in general causing concern in flouting health recommendations, coupled with the loosening of domestic social gathering limits, have also contributed to the resurgence of the virus.

All that said, chief of police Víðir Reynisson told Fréttablaðið that “pointing fingers” at one another does not help contain the virus. Instead, he urged people to have a sense of community in looking out for one another.

“We all bear responsibility, we shouldn’t forget that,” he said. “We can’t just point fingers at one another. We were the ones who decided to go into a place that was packed with people, and that was our decision. But it is also the responsibility of the establishment owner to ensure that the guidelines are being followed.”

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