Number of COVID-19 Cases Rises in Iceland

Vala Hafstað

Six new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Iceland yesterday, Morgunblaðið reports. All six cases can be traced to a man who arrived in Iceland July 15 and who, due to a defective registration form, did not undergo a second test a few days after arrival, as new rules for Icelandic citizens and residents of Iceland arriving in the country require.

The man tested negative for the virus upon arrival, developed symptoms thereafter, and tested positive on Saturday. The form he filled out was in English, since he is a foreign national working temporarily in Iceland, and it did not ask for a kennitala, which is an Icelandic identification number. Had the form asked for that number, the individual would automatically have received information about the new rules and have been called in for a second test a few days after arrival. In addition, the new rules only apply to residents of Iceland, not to temporary workers, Kamilla Sigríður Jósefsdóttir, a disease prevention specialist at the Directorate of Health explains.

“This is something we must look into,” she tells mbl.is.

On Saturday, deCode Genetics did a sequence analysis of three samples from people who tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday. Two of those turned out to be a variant of SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) not seen in Iceland before. In addition, another variant of SARS-CoV-2 not seen in Iceland before was found in a sample from an individual who tested positive on Thursday, Kamilla confirms. She states that both variants are definitely ones that were recently carried to Iceland from abroad.

According to covid.is, there are currently 15 people in isolation in Iceland, infected with COVID-19, and 135 people in quarantine.

Since June 15, when border testing began, 55,182 people have been tested for the coronavirus at the border.

For the latest COVID-19 statistics and for information on traveling to Iceland during the pandemic, visit covid.is

UPDATE at 11:20:

The figures on covid.is were just updated. Active cases of COVID-19 in Iceland now total 21, and 173 people are in quarantine. According to the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, the 21 cases involve 11 separate groups, two of which have not yet been traced. None of the people with an active infection is hospitalized or seriously ill.

Authorities stress the importance of remaining at home or at your accommodation until you have received the results of your coronavirus test. 

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