What is being done in Iceland to curb the spread of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Due to the increased spread of the 2019-nCoV around the world, the Chief Epidemiologist in collaboration with the Civil Protection Department of the National Commissioner of Police has started to work in accordance with the relevant existing response plans, CBRNE (in Icelandic only) and public health risks at international airports (english).

Today, January 24, 2020, the virus has been confirmed in 897 people and 26 are deceased. In addition, suspected but unconfirmed infections have been reported by several European countries, including Scotland and Finland.

Despite information about the increased spread of the virus, there are no indications that the virus more severe than previously thought.

Responses in Iceland include the following:

1. Operations at Keflavik Airport to identify infected and potentially infected individuals

Passengers arriving at Keflavik Airport will be notified that if they have signs of respiratory infection and have been in Wuhan China for the past 14 days or have been in contact with individuals with suspected or confirmed infection, they must be medically assessed at Keflavik Airport. Additional measures will be determined by the assessment, but quarantine will be considered.

Also, asymptomatic passengers who have been in Wuhan China in the past 14 days or in contact with individuals with suspected or confirmed infection will be asked to report to the nearest service desk, quarantine will be considered.
These measures are aimed at identifying infected and possibly infected individuals to prevent further spread in Iceland.

There is no reason to screen all passengers with temperature scans or questionnaires at Keflavik Airport because such actions are costly and have not been shown to be successful in reducing risk of outbreaks.

2. Measures in the health care system in Iceland

All healthcare facilities in the country have been informed of the virus and are encouraged to update their response plans and consider their resources, including isolation facilities. Guidance will be issued on the website of the Directorate of Health to the public on how healthcare institutions should be approached if an infection is suspected.

3. Information to the public and healthcare professionals

A specific area on the website of the Directorate of Health with information and instructions related to the virus has been opened, both for the general public and for healthcare professionals. The latest news on the infection will be published on this site and instructions updated when necessary.
In cooperation with the Icelandic Tourist Board, information about the virus and the response against it will be made available to tourists in Iceland.

For further information, please contact Kjartan Hreinn Njálsson, Assistant to the Director of Health, at 663-3624 or via email kjartanh@landlaeknir.is