Cases on the rise as Icelanders start three day weekend

Iceland continues to see a daily increase in new Covid-19 cases and authorities advise the public to take reasonable precautions now that one of Iceland‘s biggest and busiest holidays is about to start.

Dr. Kamilla Sigríður Jósefsdóttir, the acting Chief Epidemiologist of Iceland, says that the current trend in infections is worrying and that contact tracing is proving increasingly difficult. She tells Mbl.is that unlike previous waves a large share of those now found to have contracted the virus have not been self-isolating when they get tested, meaning they are more likely to have spread the virus to other people.

Preliminary figures indicate that on Thursday 112 people tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 of whom 32 had been self-isolating while 80 had not.

According to the Covid.is information website ten people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19. Of those two are in intensive care and both had not been fully vaccinated. Some 1,072 people are in isolation and 2,590 are in quarantine.

Bring out the tents, but don't be reckless

Friday marks the beginning of the “Verslunarmannahelgi”, a traditional camping- and town festival weekend for Icelanders. The first Monday of August is a public holiday in what is usually the warmest time of summer, and has Icelanders flocking to campsites and festivals around the country – the largest of which is the Þjóðhátíð festival on the island of Vestmannaeyjar where around 17.000 revellers attend each year.

All festivals have now been cancelled, due to the authorities recently mandating a 200 person limit on gatherings, but Icelanders are still expected to use the weekend to explore their country. Dr. Jósefsdóttir says that people should take care to avoid large crowds of strangers and take reasonable measures to minimize the risk of contagion. ai@mbl.is

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