At a press conference held earlier today, chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason said that while domestic cases have been decreasing, active infections found at border screening have increased. However, of the 90 people in total since June 15th who have been screened at the border and found to have coronavirus, 60% of them had legal residence in Iceland.
Þórólfur touted this as a success, stating that these are 90 people who could have spread the virus within Iceland, but did not. The 60% with Icelandic residence had vast social nets within the country, which could have spread the virus even further, had they not been detected and asked to go into isolation immediately.
Most of these 90 people were detected on the first screening, with 14 showing symptoms at the second screening, which began in mid-July. This again, Þórólfur points out, equates 14 people who could have spread the virus to others after having slipped through the net at the primary screening.
When questioned on the need for the tougher border measures that were instituted this summer, Þórolfur said it is clear the new measures are to thank for the preventative actions that were taken in stopping further spread of the virus. He added that the pandemic situation is far worse in other countries, and he does not believe Iceland’s border policies are stricter than they are in other countries. As such, he believes the border screenings should continue as they are, for now, having mind in the possibility of relaxing restrictions when appropriate.
There will be a more formal review of Iceland’s coronavirus policies on September 15th.
Correction: This article originally stated that 60 of the 90 detected at border screening had Icelandic residence. In reality, it is 60% of the 90. The article has been amended accordingly.
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