Following two false-negative COVID-19 tests among Icelandic residents at the border, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason will propose an amendment to border testing to the Minister of Health, RÚV reports. Icelandic residents arriving in Iceland will be tested once upon their arrival and again a few days later, following a period of mandatory quarantine.
15,000 travellers tested thus far
A total of 15,000 travellers have been tested for COVID-19 at Iceland’s borders since June 15. A total of six active infections have been detected among arriving passengers, including two false-negatives among Icelandic residents (the individuals tested negative upon their arrival, before testing positive a few days later).
“Both of these individuals were in contact with a relatively large network of people in Iceland, increasing the chances of a significant rate of infection within Iceland’s borders,” Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur stated at a press conference earlier today.
In light of these false-negatives, Þórólfur announced that he would be submitting a proposal to the Minister of Health recommending that Icelandic residents be tested upon arrival before undergoing a period of mandatory self-quarantine. “And then they will be tested again four to five days later, meaning that any asymptomatic carriers who test negative upon arrival, will test positive during the second test,” Þórólfur stated.
Summer vacations to complicate matters
Þórólfur emphasized that this change in protocol would require extensive planning while also noting that summer vacations might serve to complicate matters further. “I think that’s why it’s important that we make these changes as soon as possible. Discussions with essential workers will be held over the coming days.” Until then, Icelandic residents arriving from abroad are encouraged to be careful and to practice social-distancing.