Tenfold Proportional Increase in Cases at Border

Vala Hafstað

The number of people diagnosed with an active case of COVID-19 at Icelandic borders has proportionally increased nearly tenfold since August 19, when stricter border screening rules were adopted, despite a decreasing influx of tourists, mbl.is reports.

This was revealed by Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason at yesterday’s press conference. Since the rules were tightened, 0.3 percent of people tested at the border have turned out to have an active case of the disease, compared with 0.04 percent before the stricter rules took effect.

About 100 people have been diagnosed with an active case at the border since the new rules took effect,  requiring people to be tested twice with a four to five day quarantine in between. Of those 100, 16 were not diagnosed until they were tested a second time.

Of the 100 people diagnosed at the border, about 60 percent reside in Iceland.

In an article, published in Morgunblaðið today, Kári Stefánsson, CEO of deCode Genetics, states it would be very dangerous to relax rules regarding the four to five-day quarantine for arriving passengers in Iceland, as some people in the tourism industry and others have called for. People critical of the quarantine rule would like arriving passengers to have much more freedom to move about than they have while in quarantine.

Kári argues that were that freedom allowed, there would be no way to determine whether people are indeed complying with the rules.

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