Ten Additional Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed

Vala Hafstað

Ten additional cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, were confirmed in Iceland yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 26, mbl.is reports.

All 26 individuals infected contracted the disease abroad while skiing in northern Italy or Austria. None of them is seriously ill. All ten who were diagnosed yesterday were already in quarantine after having returned by air to Iceland from Verona, Italy, or Munich, Germany.

About 380 Icelanders are in quarantine at home. Efforts are being made to speed up sample analysis at Landspítali National University Hospital.

“Clearly, there are many confirmed cases per capita in Iceland, compared with the rest of the world,” a statement from health officials reads. “In this context, it is important to keep in mind that authorities have taken extensive steps including placing people arriving from risk areas in quarantine, isolating the ones infected, and taking samples early from those who show even mild symptoms.”

“In the view of the chief epidemiologist and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, it is primarily thanks to these actions that people in Iceland are being diagnosed early, thereby reducing the number of potential paths of contracting the disease in each confirmed case.”

According to the website of the Directorate of Health, the defined areas with a risk of infection are China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Individuals that have been in these areas in the past few days and are in Iceland are advised to stay at home for 14 days as a precaution. Quarantine is only needed if a person stays in the area for at least one night. See further instructions on home-based quarantine.“

Areas with a low risk of infection are Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tenerife.

“Individuals that are in these areas or have been in these areas for the past few days are advised to pay close attention to personal hygiene. That involves frequent hand washing, using a paper towel/cloth when sneezing/coughing, and use hand sanitizers. Hand washing, avoiding touching of eyes, nose, and mouth and avoiding of hand shaking are key factors in reducing risk of infection,” according to instructions on the website.

If you experience illness that arises up to 14 days after visiting the abovementioned areas, please call 1700 (+354 544-4113 if calling from a foreign number) to receive advice on how to proceed.

Further information can be obtained on the website of the Directorate of Health, landlaeknir.is.

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