The next few days will reveal whether Iceland’s recent spike in domestic COVID-19 cases is the beginning of a third wave, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated. Iceland reported 19 new domestic cases yesterday and 13 the day before, representing a marked spike from recent weeks. One third of the cases have been linked to a downtown bar, while several others have been linked to the University of Iceland and Reykjavík University.
Stricter Measures Would Be Localised to Capital Area
Þórólfur made the remark at today’s COVID-19 briefing, held by Icelandic authorities in Reykjavík. In light of the rise in case numbers, the Chief Epidemiologist stated he would be recommending stricter restrictions for venues with liquor licences, i.e. restaurants and bars. His suggestions will be sent to the Health Minister today or tomorrow. As all of the new cases have arisen in the capital area, any measures implemented would likely be localised to that region.
A number of the new domestic cases have revealed a new strain of the virus, which arrived in Iceland via two tourists in August who were meant to be in quarantine. Most of the new cases that have arisen are among people around or under 30. One factor that will be considered in determining the level of restrictions imposed will be the severity of cases, stated Þórólfur. The current average age of those infected in the country is relatively young, at 39 years, which is one likely reason that only a single patient with COVID-19 is currently hospitalised.
Most Important to Stay Home if You’re Sick
At the briefing, both Þórólfur and Chief Superintendent Víðir Reynisson underlined the importance of individual preventative measures such as social distancing and handwashing. The most important preventative measure, stated Þórólfur, is staying home if you have any symptoms at all. “These actions are much more likely to be effective than rules and regulations from the government,” he stated. Víðir directed his words to employers, urging them to tell their staff to stay home if they are sick.
Iceland Review live-tweets COVID-19 briefings in English on our Twitter account, linked below.