Wants Double Testing to Be Mandatory

Vala Hafstað

Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has suggested to Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir that all arriving passengers in Iceland be required to be tested twice for the coronavirus – first upon arrival and again four to five days later, mbl.is reports.

At present, people have the option of skipping testing and spending instead 14 days in quarantine. Current restrictions are good through January 12.

At today’s press conference, Þórólfur stated that testing everyone twice at the border is essential, given how many people have tested positive at the border in recent days – some of them with the more contagious so-called British variant of the coronavirus.

This is not the first time Þórólfur has suggested making the double test mandatory. Very few people have opted for the 14-day quarantine, he noted.

“Nonetheless, I find it essential that we catch almost every [infected person],” he stated.

Ten people tested positive at the border yesterday, but eight of them await the results of antibody tests. On Tuesday, 13 active cases were confirmed at the border. In addition, three people await the results of antibody tests.

So far, a total of 22 cases of the British variant of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Iceland – 19 of them at the border and three domestically. Those diagnosed domestically are relatives of people who arrived from abroad.

Þórólfur did not rule out the possibility that people diagnosed with the British variant be required to spend their time in isolation at quarantine facilities.

He noted that monitoring of those who test positive at the border has been increased. He believes everything is being done to minimize the chance of the British variant, as well as others, spreading in the country.

Þórólfur has decided on a change to who gets priority when it comes to immunizations. The next group to be vaccinated for COVID-19 will be people aged 70 and older. Next in line after them will be people with certain underlying conditions. They may have to wait until March.

Yesterday, 11 new domestic cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Iceland. “I hope that’s not an indication the pandemic is on the rise,” Þórólfur remarked, “but we will find out in the coming days.  There are always fluctuations from day to day.”

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




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