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COVID-19: One more fatality and two new cases

20.04.2020 - 15:25
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The past 24 hours have seen Iceland’s tenth death from the COVID-19 coronavirus: the second fatality at the Berg nursing home in Bolungarvík in the Westfjords region. At the same time, only two new cases were diagnosed in Iceland.
  • The death of a woman in her 80s at Berg nursing home is Iceland’s tenth fatality from the virus. Two newly diagnosed cases yesterday bring the national total up to 1,773; including 1,362 people who are registered as having made a full recovery. There were six new cases on Friday and 11 on Saturday. 28 people are in hospital with COVID-19, including four in intensive care. 
  • Only four percent of diagnosed cases in Iceland so far are among people of foreign origin, while they make up around 14 percent of the country’s population. There are many possible explanations for the disconnect, but chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason says that one might be that New Icelanders are less likely to know what services are available to them and might be less likely to go for testing. While the website is available in nine languages, not everybody knows the website exists. Others might not speak any of the languages on offer, Þórólfur says. Overall, around 12 percent of people in Iceland have been tested. 
  • According to Þórólfur, the outbreak peaked in Iceland during the last week of March, as opposed to the first week in April as originally forecast. He says this is good news, but adds that localised outbreaks are still a significant risk, as just one person can infect many others if they ignore their symptoms or do not feel any. 
  • Víðir Reynisson, civil protection chief at the State police and one of the ‘troika’ of public figures leading Iceland’s COVID-19 response, became a grandfather for the first time this weekend. He told reporters it is “lovely” to receive such a personal boost in the middle of the global pandemic.
  • Víðir also used his time with the press this weekend to call on young people to take more care; saying that some 20 percent of cases in Iceland have been among 18-29-year-olds, which is a disproportionately high figure. 
  • Child protective services in the City of Reykjavík have reported a significant spike in calls about children in immediate danger from abuse—including more calls from affected children themselves. The head of the service believes the assembly ban is the likely cause of the increase as more people are spending more time at home and children of abusive households have fewer places to go.
  • Icelandair pilots bringing a plane full of medical equipment to Iceland from Shanghai yesterday flew a heart-shaped approach over the capital region in honour of Iceland’s healthcare professionals who have been on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus. Their flight path can be seen on the picture above.
  • There is more on the COVID-19 outbreak in The Week in Iceland. Guests in this week's programme are the chief economist at Landsbankinn and the head infectious diseases doctor at Landspítali.

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