Vaccinated tourists test positive for COVID infection

13.07.2021 - 11:55
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: RÚV
Since the 1st of July, when obligatory border testing was lifted, 29 travellers have been diagnosed with COVID-19. About half of them is vaccinated. The chief physician of the COVID-ward says they have prepared for this.

Þórólfur Guðnason, Chief Epidemiologist, says that six of the country infections, where both vaccinated and unvaccinated have contracted the virus, may be traced back to those at-the-border infections.

“We know exactly we are taking a chance here,” says Þórólfur. “This is why a wide vaccination programme is so important, as successful as we have it now. We also need to investigate whether the vaccine does not offer protection to those exposed.”

Are we taking much risk?

“No, I would say that the risk is rather small, especially since we were so successful with the vaccination programme here in the country,” says Þórólfur.

Currently, 17 tourists are dwelling in the quarantine hotel. Most of them have been vaccinated and the COVID-19 infection have been diagnosed in a PCR test before their outbound flight. They stayed in the country for a different length of time and all travelled a bit around. This comes from Gylfi Þór Þorsteinsson, the supervisor of the quarantine hotel, together with an information that the numbers are increasing.

“We could say that every other day someone infected comes here,” says Gylfi.

Runólfur Pálsson, the head of the COVID-ward of the National Hospital, says this is not a surprise. “We could see this trend emerging in the last few weeks”.

Currently, forty patients are under the supervision of the COVID-ward. “With the decrease in the activities, the manpower was also limited, but if need be more staff will be employed,” says Runólfur.

Are there any indications for such needs?

“The number of tourists is growing; it seems especially big group arrived last weekend. As they are not tested on the arrival, it remains to be seen how it plays out, if any of those individuals are infected”.

Runólfur says that the decision to exclude those with vaccination certificate from obligatory border testing was taken in line with the success in the vaccination programme in Iceland. “As 80% of adults in Iceland have been vaccinated the risk is small,” he adds.

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