While first suspected to be the case yesterday, it has now been confirmed, Vísir reports, that the Omicron variant has been detected in a patient at Landspítali hospital. The individual in question has not even been abroad, so it is still uncertain where and how exactly they contracted the virus.
The news comes just four days after former Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir instituted new border restrictions with the aim of helping prevent the arrival of the variant in Iceland. These measures in particular required that anyone who has spent 24 hours or more in Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe or South Africa within 14 days of coming to Iceland must take a PCR test, go into immediate quarantine, and then take another PCR test five days later, whether they have been vaccinated or not.
However, reporting done shortly thereafter confirmed that the Omicron variant was already in Europe before it had been identified by epidemiologists in South Africa.
In fact, Iceland’s chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason told reporters that he would prefer to be proactive in preventing the spread of Omicron in Iceland. Now that this moment has passed, what measures Iceland may take under the new Minister of Health, Willum Þór Þórsson, remains to be seen.
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