Update July 14, 4:20 PM: In light of the uptick in infections, authorities have scheduled a COVID-19 information briefing tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM UTC. Iceland Review will live-tweet from the briefing in English on our Twitter page.
Iceland reported five domestic infections yesterday, all outside of quarantine. Three of the infected individuals are fully vaccinated. A press statement from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management says the cases confirm there is community spread of the virus and encourage the public to act with caution in the coming days and weeks, regardless of their vaccination status. Two domestic cases out of quarantine were reported one day prior, constituting a rise in infection rates in the country.
According to the press statement, sent by Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir, the infections have been traced to nightlife as well as large friend and family events. Contact tracing is ongoing and authorities expect over 100 people to be placed in quarantine in relation to the infections. “It’s clear that there is community infection in the country and therefore it is incredibly important that everyone is cautious in the coming days and weeks, also those who are vaccinated, as it is obvious that those individuals can still contract COVID-19,” Hjördís wrote. “It’s especially important to be careful around vulnerable individuals that could become seriously ill from COVID-19 even if they are vaccinated.”
The Civil Protection Department encourages the public to continue practicing personal infection prevention and get tested if experiencing even the slightest symptoms that could point to COVID-19, whether or not they are vaccinated. The public is also encouraged to download the official contact tracing app Rakning C-19, which can help contact tracing teams in their efforts.
Chief Epidemiologist encourages healthcare centres to tighten rules
Þórólfur Guðnason, Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist, told RÚV the uptick in infections was “uncomfortably reminiscent of the beginning of the third wave, I have to say. But the difference is still that now we have vaccinated quite a lot of people while no one was vaccinated when the third wave arrived. So I hope there won’t be the same upward trend as then,” Þórólfur stated. Of Iceland’s population, 66.69% are fully vaccinated while 72.17% have received at least one dose.
“I think there is reason now to encourage all at-risk individuals with underlying illnesses, as well as nursing homes and medical institutions, to be vigilant and tighten their rules now while we are seeing this upward trend,” Þórólfur stated.