From Iceland — Concerns That Person Diagnosed Outside Of Quarantine Was Linked With Group Trips To Eruption Site

Concerns That Person Diagnosed Outside Of Quarantine Was Linked With Group Trips To Eruption Site

Published March 26, 2021

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Þórólfur Guðnason, the chief epidemiologist, is worried that a person diagnosed outside of quarantine may be linked with the group trips to Geldingadalur.

He also believes it is impossible to link the infection that occurred outside of quarantine to other cases in recent days.

Six were diagnosed with the coronavirus domestically yesterday. Five of those diagnosed were in quarantine but one was out of quarantine.

Infection at the eruption site?

Þórólfur said in a conversation with Vísir that “One may be worried that this person who was diagnosed outside the quarantine was somewhat connected to the eruption sites and has been in group trips there. When you see pictures from the eruption sites and of the huge number that are gathering there of Icelanders and foreigners and people who are walking in dense groups, there is reason to worry that there may be some kind of infection and risk of infection under those conditions.”

The epidemiologist did not want to provide further information on how he thought the diagnosed person was linked with the group trip but mostly is concerned about the spread of the virus between the large crowds gathering at the volcano.

He says it is now on the table of the tracking team of the Civil Defense and the Medical Director of Health to trace the infection.

Current system is showing cracks

Þórólfur says that all the infections that have occurred in the last few days have been caused by the more contagious British variant of the coronavirus, but that the sequencing of the samples that were diagnosed positive yesterday has not been completed.

He went on to say that “I think it’s right to beg people to just be very careful in these groups that go to the eruption sites and preferably wait with it if possible because there could be a risk of infection where thousands or tens of thousands are on the move. So this is such a weakness in the current system, I think.”

About 2,500 people went for sampling in the last 24 hours. The chief epidemiologist says it is difficult to say whether the number will remain so high, but encourages everyone, now as before, to go for a sample if they experience the slightest symptoms.

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