COVID-19 in Iceland: Too early to plan summer time journey, authorities say – Iceland

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The one factor sure about summer time is that it’ll come finally, Icelandic chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason mentioned at a briefing in Reykjavík this morning. Authorities on the assembly mentioned it was too early to plan a summer time trip on overseas seashores and urged locals to keep away from journey overseas for now. Those that do might discover borders closed and will probably be at elevated danger of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These vacationers additionally expose Iceland to a brand new wave of native an infection: Whereas the nation has contained the virus regionally with relative success, its best menace is the arrival of recent instances of the virus. 39; overseas.

The so-called British pressure which was accountable for an outbreak of instances in Europe has did not unfold nationally in Iceland. Whereas the pressure has been recognized in a number of dozen instances recognized on the border, it has solely been accountable for seven home infections, all of that are intently linked to individuals coming back from overseas. The Brazilian and South African strains that are of concern to well being authorities in different international locations and which have unfold elsewhere haven’t been detected both at Iceland's borders or inside the nation.

No confirmed hyperlink between vaccinations and deaths

On the briefing, director of well being Alma Möller reviewed the outcomes of an investigation into 5 deaths following the vaccination of nursing dwelling residents final month. 4 of the deaths have been discovered to be unrelated to the vaccination. Within the fifth case, a causal hyperlink couldn’t be excluded. Alma identified that the group vaccinated first was the oldest and most fragile group in Iceland, and that on common, 18 individuals from this group die every week. Well being officers have discovered no enhance in demise charges among the many aged after vaccinations.

The next is a barely edited transcript of our reside tweet from the briefing.

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To the panel: Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason, Director of Well being Alma Möller and Assistant Director of Civil Safety Rögnvaldur Ólafsson.

Yesterday's numbers are up on covid.is. Iceland reported four new home instances yesterday, 2 in quarantine. Whole variety of energetic instances: 143. 19 are in hospital, none in intensive care unit.

The briefing has began. Rögnvaldur begins the assembly by discussing the state of affairs within the international locations round us and the way it impacts worldwide journey and border restrictions in Iceland. We now have heard of examples of Icelanders having issues on their travels. In view of this example, we don’t suggest touring overseas until completely vital.

Þórólfur takes over to evaluation the numbers. 4 instances have been recognized yesterday, however fewer assessments are being administered over the weekend. The alleged British pressure was recognized on the border however has not unfold throughout the nation. Brazilian and South African strains which have unfold elsewhere haven’t been detected in Iceland. We’re seeing indications that there aren’t many infections spreading locally.

We’re involved, nevertheless, in regards to the variety of energetic instances captured on the border, Þórólfur mentioned. Final Friday, the Minister of Well being launched a brand new regulation stating that everybody arriving from overseas have to be examined, besides youngsters, however they’re now required to self-quarantine. New an infection management laws went into impact final week, however whereas we’ve got relaxed the restrictions, we’re asking individuals to not see this as a possibility to cease practising an infection management measures.

A vaccine cargo arrived this morning with three,000 doses. Well being authorities are getting ready pointers for the vaccination of individuals with a historical past of allergic reactions. Þórólfur helps Rögnvaldur & # 39; s assertion urging residents to keep away from journey overseas in any respect prices.

Alma takes over to debate the vaccination of nursing dwelling residents. Whereas the Pfizer vaccine has undergone intensive testing by producers, few of the themes examined have been aged. The Directorate of Well being has acquired a number of notices of attainable critical unwanted effects (demise) and determined to review them totally as it is a new vaccine. Of the 5 deaths reported to the Route de la Santé, 4 weren’t causally linked to vaccination. Within the fifth case, a causal hyperlink couldn’t be excluded. Well being officers additionally checked out demise charges among the many aged after vaccinations and located that there was no indication that deaths had elevated. It needs to be famous that the primary group vaccinated was the oldest and most fragile group in Iceland and that on common 18 individuals of this group die every week, Alma provides.

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Icelandic authorities have additionally requested whether or not well being authorities in different Nordic international locations have acquired notifications of attainable critical unwanted effects from COVID-19 vaccines. Nordic well being officers responded that some deaths had been reported after vaccination, however most have been associated to underlying illnesses. Alma provides that individuals with sickness shouldn’t be vaccinated till signs similar to fever and an infection have gone away. This is applicable to everybody however particularly seniors.

The panel opens for questions. Rögnvaldur is questioned in regards to the deadly automotive crash within the Westfjords involving a household coming back from Keflavík Airport by automotive after an in a single day flight. Rögnvaldur responds that individuals can spend an evening in a resort resting earlier than taking an extended drive and that there’s a listing of lodges that settle for visitor quarantine on covid.is.

Rögnvaldur is requested about individuals breaking an infection prevention guidelines at a restaurant this weekend. He says he isn’t conscious of the small print of the incident, however says authorities are seeing indications that the general public is enjoyable greater than the state of affairs permits.

Þórólfur is requested in regards to the AstraZeneca vaccine. He says the European Medicines Company is predicted to vote on the licensing on January 29. The double border take a look at was made necessary over considerations that individuals would abide by the 14-day quarantine guidelines. Are there any indications that persons are not sticking to the 5-day quarantine between assessments? Rögnvaldur replies that the system have to be based mostly on belief and that to this point it has labored.

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Is the British pressure extra contagious in youngsters? The entire instances the place the pressure has been recognized in Iceland have been in adults, so we don't have any native knowledge on this, Þórólfur says, including that he hasn't seen any analysis in it. 39; assist.

Þórólfur is requested if there’s a distinction within the unwanted effects reported between Fashionable and Pfizer vaccines. He replies that it's onerous to say, as vaccines have been given to completely different demographic teams: healthcare staff and residents of nursing houses.

Requested about summer time holidays and summer time journeys, Þórólfur says it's nonetheless a bit too early to plan for them. There may be nonetheless a variety of uncertainty about summer time. The one factor sure is that summer time will come, in the end.

Rögnvaldur takes over to shut the briefing. Because the begin of the pandemic, contact tracing has been our major technique of preventing the virus. Right now we discover that the contact tracing group is just not getting as a lot data from the general public because it was firstly, he says. Contact tracing workers want data to have the ability to successfully break the chain of an infection. He encourages the general public to cooperate absolutely within the occasion of an infection. The briefing is over.

Iceland Assessment will reside stream the subsequent Icelandic authorities' briefing on COVID-19, scheduled for Thursday, January 21.

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