There are currently 17 travellers with COVID-19 in isolation at Iceland’s official quarantine facilities, RÚV reports. Most of their infections were discovered when the travellers went to get tested shortly before their scheduled departure. Since new border regulations took effect on July 1, 29 travellers have tested positive for COVID-19. Over half of them were fully vaccinated.
May have arrived with infection
On July 1, Iceland stopped requiring fully vaccinated travellers to undergo testing upon arrival in the country. Many of these travellers undergo testing shortly before departure, however, as their home countries require them to present a negative test upon re-entry. “They’ve been here for some time, and because they are vaccinated they don’t need testing upon arrival, so it’s impossible to say whether they brought the infection with them from abroad or whether they are getting infected here,” stated Gylfi Þór Þorsteinsson, director of the government quarantine facilities. The number of guests at the facilities has been increasing recently, according to Gylfi. “You could say that someone infected with COVID comes here every other day.”
Six domestic infections can be traced to the 29 border infections that have been detected since July 1, according to Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason. The National University Hospital’s COVID-19 ward is currently monitoring 40 patients, most or all with active COVID-19 infections. None are hospitalised.
90% of residents 16+ are vaccinated
The decision to stop testing vaccinated travellers upon arrival in Iceland was made in consideration of the fact that 92% of women and 88% of men aged 16 and over in Iceland have received one or both shots of COVID-19 vaccine. Of the total population, 64.8% is fully vaccinated while 71.6% have received one or both shots.
“When knew exactly what risk we were taking,” Þórólfur stated. “So it is important that vaccination is as widespread as it is within Iceland. And that’s what we have to see, whether vaccination holds up and protects those who are exposed.”
Iceland’s current border regulations are valid until August 15, 2021.