Foreign Party Will Review Cancer Society Procedures Following Misdiagnosis

Krabbameinsfélagið

The Directorate of Health intends to hire an organisation from outside of Iceland to re-evaluate cervical samples taken by the Icelandic Cancer Society and examine whether screening procedures at the institution are satisfactory. Six thousand samples taken by the Cancer Society are being re-evaluated and cell changes have been found in more than 50 women that were not initially detected due to a staff member’s mistake.

The re-examination of the 6,000 samples began in July after it was revealed that a serious mistake had been made while examining a cervical sample in 2018. Cellular changes indicating cancer should have been detected in the sample. The woman in question now has incurable cervical cancer. Of the 50 samples that have been since found with cellular changes, none have cancer.

English Footballers Fined for Breaking Quarantine in Iceland

English national football players Mason Greenwood (18) and Phil Foden (20) have been fined ISK 250,000 ($1,780/€1,510) each for breaking quarantine rules while in Iceland for a match with England’s national men’s team last weekend, Vísir reports. The players have both issued apologies for meeting two Icelandic women in their hotel, a violation of the “working quarantine” regulations visiting athletes are required to follow.

Foden, who has a girlfriend and one-year-old son, has issued an apology on his Twitter page. In the statement, he admitted to breaching COVID-19 protocols, calling it a “poor decision” that “didn’t meet the standards expected of [him].” Foden apologised to team manager Gareth Southgate, as well as staff, supporters, and his family.

Greenwood’s apology, issued via Manchester United, was more concise. “Having now had the chance to reflect on what’s happened, I can only apologise to everyone for the embarrassment I have caused,” it reads. “It was irresponsible of me to break the COVID-19 protocols which are in place to protect players, staff and the public.” Greenwood also apologised to Southgate and promised he would learn from the incident.

Women Express Regret

The two women who met with Greenwood and Foden have both expressed regret over the incident, stating they were not aware the players were in quarantine. Lára Clausen (18), one of the young women, posted a series of videos on her Instagram account last night taking responsibility for recording the videos of the players, which she says were leaked from her private Snapchat account. Lára called the meeting a “huge mistake and complete thoughtlessness” on her part. “I honestly had no idea how famous these boys were. I don’t follow football and never have and had no idea what I was putting on the internet.” Lára stated that the players did not tell the women they were in quarantine.  “If we had known better we would have never gone, knowing they were in quarantine.”

Nadía Sif Líndal, the other local who met with the players, posted several Instagram stories insisting that she did not know the players were in quarantine and did not record the Snapchat videos or leak them to the media. Both girls have faced harassment on social media due to the incident. Politicians Hanna Katrín Friðriksson and Helga Vala Helgadóttir are among several public figures that have denounced the vitriol. “Raise your hand if you’ve never done anything stupid,” Helga Vala wrote in a Facebook post about the incident. “Shouldn’t we give them a bit of a break?”

Icelandair Has Cancelled Nearly Three Quarters of Flights This Month

Icelandair

Icelandair has cancelled nearly 73% of flights that were scheduled so far this month, RÚV reports. The airline’s CEO says the cancellations are due to low demand caused by Iceland’s strict travel restrictions. Foreign airlines flying to and from Iceland have operated 95.6% of scheduled flights during the same period.

“We simply can’t fly flights where there are few passengers and very little demand and we can’t fly flights at an operational loss. That simply doesn’t add up in the long term and not in the short term either in the situation we are in now,” stated Bogi Nils Bogason, Icelandair’s CEO. Bogi added that he could not answer as to how other airlines were managing to continue their scheduled flights. The number of travellers arriving in Iceland has dropped significantly since August 19, when rules went into effect requiring all arriving passengers to undergo double COVID-19 testing and five-day quarantine.

Icelandair to Receive Line of Credit with State Guarantee

Like most airlines in the world, Icelandair has faced operational difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, the Icelandic government decided to provide Icelandair a line of credit with a state guarantee. State-owned banks Íslandsbanki and Landsbankinn would finance the loan, which would amount to up to $120 million (about ISK 16.5 billion), and the state guarantee would apply to 90% of the amount loaned. Three parliamentary bills concerning the loan have been passed by Iceland’s parliament, but the initiative is subject to the two parties reaching an agreement on the terms, and the success of Icelandair’s planned refinancing initiative.

Customers Eligible for Refund and Damages

Most of Icelandair’s cancellations have been announced to travellers with short notice. Iceland’s Consumer Protection Agency (Neytendasamtök) has stated that customers whose flights were cancelled have a right to receive a refund and damages from the airline, and has encouraged those affected to seek out their rights.