None of the hundreds of locals that took part in a mass testing initiative in Iceland yesterday proved positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Health authorities invited some 700 concertgoers as well as dozens of National University Hospital staff to undergo testing after a hospital staff member who had also attended an event at Reykjavík’s Harpa Concert Hall tested positive for the virus. Concertgoers will be tested a second time on Thursday.
Iceland reported 2 new domestic cases of COVID-19 yesterday, both out of quarantine. Two domestic cases emerged over the weekend as well, and all four have been traced to an individual returning to Iceland from abroad. That traveller tested negative upon arrival to Iceland but positive for the British variant of SARS-CoV-2 following their mandatory five-day travel quarantine. There is no evidence the traveller broke quarantine rules and health authorities’ hypothesis is that at least one of the domestic infections was contracted by using a common stairwell with the quarantined traveller.
Variant Seems Highly Contagious
These four COVID-19 cases are Iceland’s first to be diagnosed outside of quarantine in over a month. Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has stated that at this point, he does not consider the cases to be the beginning of a new wave of infection. However, he added that authorities must proceed carefully to avoid a new outbreak. “We are trying to put as much effort into this as possible to prevent the spread, with testing, tracing, and the like. Hopefully, we can stop it there but one has certain worries as it seems to be highly contagious.”
Some Hospital Staff in Working Quarantine
Some of the hospital staff that were exposed to the positive case had already been vaccinated against COVID-19. Those staff members have been put in Quarantine C and can continue work at the hospital while fulfilling certain conditions, while those who have not been vaccinated have been quarantined at home for seven days, after which they will undergo a second test.