Yesterday's COVID infections all closely connected

04.06.2021 - 13:41
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Guðmundur Bergkvist - RÚV
All seven new COVID-19 cases confirmed yesterday are among applicants for international protection in Iceland who live together in a demarcated location within the capital region. Chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason believes the infection will probably not spread further.

Seven is the highest number of new infections in Iceland since 12th May, and the last time there were more than seven was on the 28th April (when there were ten). All seven individuals were not in quarantine at the time of diagnosis yesterday.

“These infections have come up among a group of applicants for international protection who live in a relatively delimited area in the capital region,” Þórólfur says. The people all live together in housing provided while their asylum applications are being processed. 

Þórólfur says some of the samples need further testing to establish whether the infection is old or active and that further testing and contact tracing is underway to map the outbreak. Þórólfur says he hopes it will not spread much. 

Because of the close links between all of yesterday’s positive test results, there is a smaller risk they are a sign of widespread community transmission. “I would infer that it is like that. We had this sort of outbreak before the New Year and were quick to stop it. I am confident and believe that it will also succeed now.” 

Authorities have frequently said that group outbreaks are to be expected, even though a new wave of infection across the country is becoming less likely. “I don’t think this changes the big picture. I hope that this is isolated to this group and does not spread further. So, I don’t believe we need to be too worried,” Þórólfur adds. 

It is not clear how the people became infected, but it is being linked to an infection at Hvaleyrarskóli school in Hafnarfjörður fairly recently. Genetic sequencing of the virus is ongoing, and it remains unclear how the strain entered Iceland, as it was not detected in border testing. 

A further five people tested positive in border testing yesterday and results are still not confirmed from their antibody testing. 

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