Nurses Who Vacation Abroad Will Have to Quarantine at Their Own Expense

COVID-19 ward Iceland National University Hospital Tómas Guðbjartsson

Nurses who go abroad on holiday will now be required to quarantine at their own expense when they return. These terms were announced in a press release issued by Iceland’s National and University Hospital this week.

See Also: Iceland Considers Testing and Quarantine of Residents Arriving from Abroad

Nursing staff will be expected to use vacation days to quarantine upon returning from trips abroad. This proceeds from the government’s recent announcement that all Icelandic citizens and residents who re-enter the country must be tested twice for COVID-19. Under the new parameters, they will be tested upon return at the border, go into quarantine regardless of their first test results, return for testing again five days later, and remain in quarantine until they’ve received a second negative result.

The requirement will go into effect on Friday, July 10.

Extensive Coral Reefs Found Off Icelandic Coast

Extensive coral reefs have been found off the southern coast of Iceland, RÚV reports. Some of these have been significantly damaged by fishing gear, but scientists are hopeful of finding intact, healthy coral in nearby areas.

Icelandic scientists have been consulting with ship captains regarding areas where coral reefs might be found around Iceland since around 2000 and have spent the intervening decades comprehensively mapping the seabed floor off the country’s coasts. In so doing, they found vast coral reefs to the south, out from Reykjanesskaga peninsula, and also to the west.

Screenshot from RÚV

“These are deep-sea coral,” explained marine biologist Steinunn Hilma Ólafsdóttir. “They prefer colder seas, are found deeper. The coral we have here around Iceland are found at a depth of 200-600 metres (656-1,968ft) and are, in reality, the same type of coral, stony coral [Scleractinia]. But these corals here around Iceland are carnivores, they don’t utilise sunlight like the corals in Australia do.”

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has been subject to significant damage due to rising sea temperatures, which is not currently thought to be a risk for coral reefs around Iceland. Instead, the local reefs have to face an entirely different problem: damage from fishing gear. Some fishing grounds around coral reef beds have been closed in order to protect them and, with luck, continued seabed mapping will help scientists better identify areas where coral reefs are prevalent.

Screenshot from RÚV

“We’ve seen areas that are ruined, if you can put it that way,” remarked Steinunn Hilma. “Completely destroyed because they’re located in fishing grounds. But we’ve also since seen coral areas that are incredibly beautiful – large and expansive coral areas with big coral reefs.”