‘Unbelievably Good’ Outlook

Vala Hafstað

“Compared to other nations around us, the outlook is unbelievably good,” states Thor Aspelund, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Iceland, speaking of the COVID-19 situation in Iceland. “It’s an indication that we’re doing well in terms of participation in disease prevention measures.

He tells mbl.is that the pandemic, which appeared to be on the rise in mid-December, seems to be under control. “People have been wearing face masks, and we appear to be following these rules,” he states. “We have succeeded in keeping this under control, even though it seemed to be on the rise for a while.”

In neighboring countries, including the UK and Ireland, the pandemic has been rapidly spreading. Thousands are diagnosed a day, and hospitals are under a great deal of stress.

Thor admits he is somewhat worried about the coming weeks. The number of infections could rise once people return to work and school after the holidays. “But we’ve seen this increase before, and if it does, we’ll slow it down again,” he states.

At a press conference this morning, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated that if nothing unexpected happens through the end of the week, the hope is that some easing of restrictions will be possible. Current restrictions are good through January 12.

A total of 17 people have been diagnosed with the British, more contagious, variant of the virus in Iceland. All but one of them were diagnosed at the border. The person diagnosed domestically is a family member of one of the people diagnosed at the border, Þórólfur explained. Therefore, the hope is that the spread of this new variant has been contained.

Ten new domestic cases of COVID-19 were confirmed yesterday. Three of the people diagnosed were not in quarantine. Thirteen people tested positive at the border yesterday, ten of whom are awaiting the results of antibody tests. There are 22 people in the hospital with COVID-19 – none of them in intensive care.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, go to covid.is.  

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