Next Steps in Border Testing to Be Presented Today

Vala Hafstað

The Icelandic government will hold a press conference this afternoon, where it plans to introduce its next steps regarding testing for the coronavirus at the border.

Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has called for more stability in the government’s decision making, with regard to the pandemic. Restrictions, in his view, should not be constantly eased and tightened, unless absolutely necessary, Morgunblaðið reports.

Among the nine options he has listed for the government to consider, he deems the most effective one, in terms of disease prevention, to be to test all arriving passengers upon arrival, require them to spend 4-6 days in quarantine, and then test them again.

“As before, my emphasis is on following the advice of the chief epidemiologist and let [his] professional judgement guide us regarding what options would be best,” Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir states in a written response to Morgunblaðið, when asked about the government’s intentions.

Only one new domestic case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Iceland yesterday, and the only person hospitalized with the disease no longer needs a ventilator and is out of intensive care.

Eight people tested positive for the virus at the border, and all are awaiting the results of an antibody test. 

There are currently 112 active cases of the disease in Iceland and the 14-day incidence of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants stands at 26.5.

At yesterday’s press conference, it was announced that part of the operation of Landspítali National University Hospital’s Department of Microbiology will be temporarily moving to the headquarters of deCode Genetics next week, resulting in substantially increased capacity for testing for the coronavirus.

The move will make it possible for up to 5,000 samples to be analyzed a day.

Landspítali is awaiting more efficient equipment from abroad, ordered months ago, for the analysis of samples, expected later this year.

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