Suggesting Two Tests for Icelanders

Vala Hafstað

“For many months to come, even a year, or possible longer, we will need to live with restrictions and a different kind of mindset, due to the coronavirus,” Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated at a press conference yesterday.

Every Icelander who arrives in Iceland, as well as every arriving foreign citizen residing in the country, should be required to stay in quarantine for four to five days after arrival and then undergo a second coronavirus test, he proposed.

It is not clear whether or when his suggestion will be approved by the minister of health, nor for how long it would be in effect.

Þórólfur’s suggestion comes after two Icelandic women, who tested negative for the virus at the border, tested positive in a second test, conducted several days later.

Since PCR testing for the novel coronavirus began at Icelandic ports of entry June 15, more than 15,000 arriving passengers have been tested, six of whom have had confirmed active cases of COVID-19. Two of those six are the Icelandic women previously mentioned. One of them arrived from the US, the other one from Albania.

Since yesterday, passengers are being charged for the test – ISK 9,000-11,000, depending on whether the pay at preregistration or upon arrival – but they will not be charged for a second test undergone less than 30 days after the first one.

There are currently 11 people with active cases of COVID-19 in Iceland, all of whom are in isolation, but none of them requiring hospitalization. At present, 434 people are quarantined. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Iceland since the beginning of the pandemic stands at 1,847.

Þórólfur expects border testing to continue for at least half a year – measures that limit the spread of the coronavirus to the country.

Almost every arriving passenger has chosen to be tested upon arrival instead of spending 14 days in quarantine.

For detailed guidelines for arriving passengers and for the latest updates, go to covid.is

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