Questions and answers regarding coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19

(Icelandic)


About coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Q. What is coronavirus?
A. Coronaviruses are known to infect humans and a variety of animals (including birds and mammals). This family of viruses usually causes mild acute respiratory illness in humans (the common cold) but may cause more severe or even fatal diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which are associated with specific virus types believed to have spread to humans from animals. MERS and SARS have caused large but localized or primarily health-care related (nosocomial) outbreaks. The COVID-19 disease has been more wide spread than both MERS or SARS and caused more illness.


Q. Which coronavirus causes the current outbreak?
A. The current pandemic is caused by a coronavirus not previously found in humans. The virus is closely related to the SARS coronavirus and is called SARS-CoV-2, and the illness it causes is called COVID-19. The virus is not as deadly as SARS or MERS but the SARS-CoV-2virus is more infectious and therefore has affected more people and caused more illness.

COVID-19 was first diagnosed in Wuhan city in China and most of the early cases had connections to a certain market that sold live animals. This virus seems to have arisen in bats, possibly with another animal host bridging the transfer to humans before human-to-human transmission became
dominant.

 

Q. Are children particularly vulnerable?
A. Children of all ages have been infected with the virus and serious illness can happen although it is not common in children.

Children most often contract the virus in the home from an infected family member and most children have mild disease. Young children, particularly infants, are possibly more vulnerable for severe infection. Chilren are less likely to spread the disease, unlike e.g. influenza. 

 

Q. Are pregnant women at risk of severe disease?
A. Current information does indicate that COVID-19 causes slightly increased risk of more severe illness for pregnant women in addition to the general risk associated with pregnancy. Due to changes in their bodies and immune systems pregnant women can be badly affected by some infections. It is therefore important that they take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19, and report symptoms (including fever, cough, difficulty breathing and loss of taste or smell) to their healthcare provider. No specific advice, therefore, is in effect for pregnant women that are generally healthy, only general infection prevention and hygiene measures in accordance to advice to the public. The virus does not appear to infect the foetus during the third trimester.

Pregnant women are adviced to contact their primary care center, at heilsuvera.is, midwife or other health care provider for further guidance. 

  

Measures taken in Iceland


Q. What are the response measures taken in Iceland?
A. The official response to COVID-19 in Iceland is decided by continuous risk assessment based on the current reliable information available. Domestically there are restricitions on gatherins to minimize spread of the virus and at the border measures are in place to minimize risk from travellers. See overview of restrictions at covid.is.

 

Q. What are the restrictions on gatherings in Iceland?
A. Restrictions on gatherings, businesses and many organized activities as well as rules on infection control are in place to minimize spread of the virus in the community. Restrictions are based on regulation from the Ministry of Health.


Q. Why is there screening for COVID-19 at the airport here?
A. Testing for the virus in people without symptoms is not a guarantee of no infection since the virus is not always detected before symptoms arise. However, if no virus is found in an asymptomatic individual he/she is most likely not infected. Arrival passengers have to present a negative PCR-test performed less than 72 hours before depature to Iceland, or if they have strong ties to Iceland, be tested upon arrivial. See pre-registration for details.  

 

Q. How are school activities handled?
A. Schools are open with some restrictions depending on age and school stage.

 

Spread of the virus and contact tracing 

 

Q. How does the virus spread?
A. The virus spreads by person to person transmission. Droplets and aerosol particles are the main pathways to spread the disease, similar to influenza, as well as contact contamination. This means that there is risk of spreading the virus when a person with the disease sneezes, coughs or wipes their nose, and a non-infected person breathes in droplets from the sick person or their hands are contaminated with the virus and they then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. There is risk of spread before an infected person develops symptoms as people with no or minimal symptoms can be infectious for 1–2 days before noticable symptoms appear. Under certain conditions such as enclosed spaces that have inadequate ventilation airborne transmission happens. Airborne transmission is when small droplets and particles linger in the air for some time.

 

Q. Who is most likely to contract COVID-19?
A. Close contacts such as family members of persons with COVID-19 are most likely to contract the illness themselves. People who are in close contact with large numbers of people for work or leisure are also more likely to contract illness than those who associate with few others. Hand hygiene and general hygiene measures as well as physical distancing are the most important protection against infection. Masks should be used where distancing is not possible. Certain defined groups who must respond to illnesses in others, such as police, paramedics and health care workers, are at risk and should have access to personal protective equipment to decrease their risk of contracting the disease.

 

Q. What is contact tracing?
A. Extensive contact tracing is performed to find those possibly exposed to infection because of close contact with an infected individual and those contacts are placed in home quarantine. Close contact is e.g. touching, face-to-face contact within 2 meters for 15 minutes or more, or being in proximity to an infectous individual in an enclosed area such as an airplane, bus, car or a room. A special contact tracing team is run by the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management. Our data support this task, as around or over 50% of known infections have been diagnosed in persons already in quarantine. This means these individuals were at home instead of being out in the community possibly exposing others to infection. Backwards contact tracing is also used to track where the infected individual contracted the infection.



Q. What does the contact tracing mobile app Rakning C-19 do?
A. Contact tracing is complicated and it can be difficult for those infected to remember where exactly they have been and who they have been in close contact with. The mobile app was designed to facilitate contact tracing. No one has access to the information without the user´s agreement. See here.

 

Vaccine and treatment

Q. Is there a vaccine or antiviral treatment for this illness?
A. There are currently several vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 being used and others waiting approval. The vaccines already approved have been shown to prevent COVID-19 illness in vaccinated individuals with few side effects. For details see covid.is.

Remdesivir antiviral treatment has been shown to decrease time to recovery in adults with COVID-19 and experimental use and research on other antiviral therapies is ongoing. The results of further studies are eagerly awaited.


Q. What are the treatment options?
A. Treatment is mainly supportive, based on the patients‘ needs and symptoms. Remdesivir and dexamethasone (steroid) are used here for hospitalised patients. Other drugs are also being used experimentally e.g. the antiviral drug favipiravir. Antibiotics do not work as they work against bacteria but SARS-CoV-2 is a virus. Drugs agains the seasonal flu (influenza) do not work in general as the influenza virus is a different type of virus.

 

Symptoms and tests 

Q. What are the symptoms?
A. Infections with COVID-19 present with various symptoms, many resembling those of influenza (such as cough, fever/chills, cold-like symptoms, muscle pain, fatigue, sore throat). Abdominal symptoms (abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, diarrhoea) and loss of smell and taste are also common. Much like influenza, some of those affected develop more severe symptoms, with breathing difficulties, occurring 4–8 days after illness starts and some patients develop bacterial pneumonia as a complication of COVID-19.



Q. Who is at risk for severe symptoms?
A. Risk groups for severe infection are being defined. Risk of severe infection is more among the elderly, especially after 65–70 years of age as well as among those that suffer from certain chronic conditions, including heart disease or high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes type 1 and 2, chronic kidney disease, obesity (BMI > 35), cancer and organ recipients as well as certain groups of immunocompromised individuals or those with chronic neurological and muscular diseases. See also information from The World Health Organization (WHO) and The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC ).

Individuals in at-risk groups should continue to be in contact with their primary care physician or specialist to discuss their risk of severe illness.

Q. I believe I am at risk of severe disease with COVID-19, what should I do?
A. Careful attention to hygiene measures when in contact with other people is vital, avoidance of travel is recommended for all, regardless of risk factors. Instructions for risk groups on how to reduce their risk of infection are available in English. If you believe more stringent precautions may be appropriate for you even in the absence of official recommendations to that effect, please contact your personal physician.

 Q. How is testing for COVID-19 performed in Iceland?
A. Testing for the virus has been done widely. Testing in the community is performed by the primary health care service. Testing in people without symptoms if they have been exposed to a case or because of travel as well as screening before larger events, as per regulations. The test can be negative until the presentation of symptoms and may cause a false sense of security in people incubating the illness. PCR-testing is done for individuals with symptoms and for certain screening procedures. Rapid antigen tests are also used for screening.

Antibody blood tests, also called serologic tests, check your blood for antibodies that you can have due to previous infection, or because of immunization (vaccination). Antibodies are proteins that are part of your immune response that helps fight off germs such as bacteria and viruses. An antibody response can take 1 to 4 weeks. Those that have recovered from an infection with SARS-CoV-2 are protected from getting infected with that virus again but for how long that protection might last is not clear. For most it seems to be at least 9 months and possibly longer. Research in Iceland has shown a sustained immune response for 4 months after infection and further studies are being carried out. In that study about 91% of people had measureable antibodies in their serum after COVID-19 infection. That does not mean the 9% were not protected by their immune system since our bodies immune response is both amhumoral response (measured antibodies) and cellular response.

Re-infection with SARS-CoV-2 is rare but does occur. It is important that everyone who experiences symptoms undergoes testing.

 

Q. I think I am ill due to COVID-19, what should I do?
A. If you have symptoms of illness, please use web chat on heilsuvera.is or call your local primary health care center (heilsugæsla) or phone 1700 (+354 544 4113 if calling from a foreign phone number). You will be advised on precautions to prevent spreading the illness to others and how to access health care services appropriate to your degree of illness. In case of emergency call 112. Please remember to report your travel history if applicable and connection to any COVID-19 case when contacting the health care services. Please do not visit any clinic or hospital where others may also be exposed without calling ahead unless it is urgent. If 1 metre social distancing cannot be adhered to then a facemask is required and should cover the nose. Pay careful attention to hygiene.

 

Q. What can I do to avoid infection with COVID-19?
A.

  • Hand washing/sanitizer is most important to avoid infection. Washing with soap and water is preferred if hands are dirty, but if they appear clean but have touched common surfaces, such as doorknobs, or received items such as money or credit cards from the general public alcohol-based hand-sanitizer is useful.
  • As much as is feasible, you should avoid contact with others that appear ill, in particular those with respiratory symptoms (sneezing, coughing, runny nose).
  • Masks are most useful for those already infected to reduce droplet spread when coughing or sneezing. However, masks could also offer some protection it has been shown so they are now recommended in situations where a 1 metre distance cannot be kept. Masks are also essential for health care workers and first responders who must tend to ill people. See more about masks here below.
  • When cleaning up after other people, for example in restaurants or public toilets, gloves may be useful, but it is of vital importance to remove gloves promptly and clean hands after the task is completed.
  • General use of gloves is not recommended. Gloves can provide a false sense of security and continued use makes it more likely that gloves become soiled and that they are not changed as needed. Proper and frequent hand washing is recommended instead in general.

 

Q. Should I use a face mask?
A. Masks are required where 1 metre social distancing cannot be adhered to and is certain specific situations, such as during certain services as well as onboard buses, flights and at the airport.. Masks are useful, for example, if an ill individual needs to be out among others, to protect his/her surroundings for spread of droplets from sneezing or coughing. Also, if a vulnerable individual, in a high risk group, needs to be out among others and he/she wants to protect himself/herself.

Importantly, spread of the COVID-19 virus is mainly by droplets, aerosol particles and contact contamination and therefore handwashing is one of the main protection against infection. It is of minimal benefit to wear a mask if you touch a contaminated surface and then e.g. touch your eye or somehow touch your mouth or nose. Also, if a mask becomes damp or wet (because of your breathing), it is not useful and therefore a mask needs to be changed regularly (disposable masks should be used no more than 4 hours but less if become damp, cloth masks should be changed and washed at least daily). It is important not to contaminate your hands when the mask is removed and to clean you hands after removing the mask.

See also Guidelines for persons at risk of severe infection from the new coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask?
A.

  1. A mask is used by health workers, care takers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough as well as under certain circumstances if the 2 metre distance cannot be kept such as at the hair dresser or beauty salon. Masks are also required in certain locations such as public transport and shops.
  2. Before touching the mask, clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  3. Take the mask and inspect it for tears or holes.
  4. Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip or stiff edge is).
  5. Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (often the coloured side).
  6. Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
  7. Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
  8. After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
  9. Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
  10. Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, if visibly soiled, wash your hands with soap and water. Note if you touch your mask your hands are contaminated.

 

Q. Can the COVID-19 virus live outside a host? Can the virus be contracted from packages or paper (newspapers/books/letters)?
A. In general, coronaviruses do not live long outside of a host. It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives outside a living host, but it seems to behave similar to other coronaviruses in that regard. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). The virus seems to survive longer on a cold, hard surface than on a soft surface such as card board or paper (see e.g. van Doramalen, etal. NEJM 17. mars, 2020).

The postal service and companies that distribute letters, newspapers and such have instructions and guidance regarding hygiene and general infection control. The virus does not seem to survive for long on paper or plastic but exactly how long is still unclear. An infected individual would have to contaminate the paper (or book etc) with droplets and the recipient to contaminate himself/herself by touching his/her face (eyes, mouth or nose).

If you think a surface may be contaminated, clean it with soap and water or a simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

 

Q. Can I contract COVID-19 from opening packages?
A. No such cases have been reported. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low. A recent study showed that the COVID-19 virus is able to persist for up to 24 hours on cardboard, in experimental settings  i.e. controlled relative humidity and temperature (van Doramalen, et al. NEJM 17. mars, 2020). In other experimental settings viral material has been found after several hours but that does not mean the viral material is infectious.



Q. Is there a risk of COVID-19 infection from food?
A. There are no indications that the virus that causes COVID-19 is carried in produce according to the European Food Safety Authority.

 

Q. Can the virus be carried on food packaging?
A. It is very unlikely that people will contract the disease from touching contaminated packaging. It is entirely appropriate to clean hands after shopping. Please keep in mind the instructions on handwashing.

 

Q. Can the virus be carried in fresh fruit and vegetables?
A. The virus is not able to maintain itself in fruit and vegatables. It is also not likely to be found in other food items. Any surface can be contaminated with the virus from a cough or sneeze by an ill person. It is always important to rinse fruit and vegetables thoroughly before consumption and wash you hands after handling such items or any food.

  

Exposure for COVID-19

 Q. What is exposure to COVID-19?
A. An individual who has been in close contact with a person ill due to COVID-19 has been exposed. Close contact means being within 2 meter distance from someone who is coughing or sneezing, or touching an ill person, sleeping in the same bed as an ill person, or staying in the same small room or small vehicle where someone is coughing or sneezing. Health care workers who have taken care of patients with COVID-19 may also be exposed, but as they habitually use protective equipment when taking care of patients this can mitigate their exposure and risk of illness. Symptoms of COVID-19 start within 14 days of infection, but most often in the first 3-5 days after getting infected. Only those who are within 14 days of their last exposure are considered at risk of illness.

 

Q. I have been exposed to COVID-19, what should I do?
A. Local transmission is occurring between individuals with or without travel history. If you have symptoms of illness, please contact your primary care center (Heilsugæsla), via web chat at heilsuvera.is or by phone, or the on-call service at 1700 (+354 544 4113 if calling on a foreign line). Testing due to symptoms can be ordered directly on heilsuvera.is if you have electronic ID, or through the web chat. Please do not visit any clinic or hospital where others may also be exposed without calling ahead unless it is urgent. In an emergency call 112.

  

Quarantine and isolation

Q. What is Quarantine?
A.Quarantine involves isolating a person who is asymptomatic and well but may be a carrier of infectious disease. The person could have contracted the virus while travelling or from a close contact with a COVID-19 infected individual. Individuals who develop symptoms while in quarantine should go immediately for testing (see above).


Q. How do I obtain a quarantine certificate?
A. Individuals need to be registered in quarantine to obtain a certificate thereof. An individual can be obligated to go into quarantine close contact with an infected individual as decided by the contact tracing team and authorized by the Chief Epidemiologist (article 12 of the Act on Health Security and Communicable Diseases).

Individuals who have been quarantine can obtain a certificate thereof on heilsuvera.is.

Those without access to heilsuvera.is can request a certificate of quarantine by sending an email to mottaka@landlaeknir.is (please write quarantine certificate in subject line). Parents in quarantine with a child who was oblicated into quarantine can obtain a certificate without being registered themselves in quarantine. Certificates are not given for those in quarantine related to travel.

 

Q. What is isolation?
A. Persons who are ill with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 would be placed in isolation, in or out of hospital. Isolation applies as well while waiting for test results.

The authority of the Chief Epidemiologist to implement isolation is layed out in article 12 of the Act on Health Security and Communicable Diseases.



Q. How do I obtain a certificate of isolation?
A. Certificate/letter regarding isolation can be obtained from heilsuvera.is (you need electroinic ID), or otherwise from the COVID-19 team at the Landspitali University Hospital.



Q. Is there a Helpline for individuals in quarantine or isolation?
A. Regarding clinical questions or health care service contact primary care service at heilsuvera.is web chat, or call 1700/+354 544 4113. The Red Cross will assist those who require help with acquiring necessities during quarantine and isolation. Any person in quarantine or isolation can contact the Red Cross Helpline at 1717 (+354 580 1710 from foreign numbers) or by webchat at www.1717.is You can request assistance or information, seek support, or enjoy a confidential conversation. The Helpline is open 24/7 and free of charge. General information regarding COVID-19 in Iceland and a web chat for questions regarding the measues against COVID-19 is at covid.is.


Q. Can people who are in quarantine in different households continue to interact?
A. No. This practice will prolong the quarantine as more people in the group fall ill and possibly increase the risk of severe illness in those exposed repeatedly or continuously, a phenomenon known to occur with chickenpox and certain other viral diseases.

 

Q. What are the discharge criteria after COVID-19 infection?
A. The COVID-19 team at Landspitali University Hospital decides and discharges patients from isolation through a phone interview. See instructions here.

 

Travel


Q. I have been travelling, could I have been exposed to COVID-19?
A. COVID-19 is still classified as a pandemic which means the disease is widespread. Travelling is considered a risk of obtaining the virus and the illness. Certain measures apply at the border to hinder an infected person from entering the country. Different measues apply in different countries and rules can change with short notice. See covid.is for details regarding the rules in Iceland.

COVID-19 cases on flights can prompt quarantine of those seated closest (1 seat on either side of an infectious individual) and sometimes crew and other passengers in certain situations. Decisions regarding quarantine in this situation are made on a case by case basis (flight by flight) by the contact tracing team.

 

Q. I have booked a trip abroad, should I cancel it?
A. The chief epidemiologist advises against all unnecessary travel abroad to risk areas for unvaccinated people. It is not possible to predict with certainty the developments in other areas and individuals must make their own decisions according to their personal health or other concerns.

 

Q. Can I use public transport from Keflavik Airport (domestic flights/public bus/taxi) after arrival from abroad?
A. Travelers to Iceland that enter the country from high-risk areas are obligated to pre-register and present valid certificates or undergo certain measues due to COVID-19 upon arrival. Here is a list of high-risk areas. For those in quarantine, then quarantine starts at landing in Iceland and, in general, public transport can not be used. Flights are necessary to come to Iceland. The fly bus is operating and can be used. Taxi and rental car can also be used to get to the location of quarantine as well as private vehicles. Domestic flight cannot be used in quarantine.

It is preferable to drive yourself rather than take a bus or taxi. If you become symptomatic within a day or two from arriving and you have an active infection then the contact tracing team would trace your contacts for the previous day. The whole bus would go into quarantine if you go by bus. However, air circulation onboard international flights is of different quality and more effective so those next to you would need to go into quarantine. If you travel by car, anyone else travelling with you would go into quarantine.

If you are in quarantine but do not have a private car at the airport, relatives or friends could perhaps bring a car for you to the airport (drive two cars there and leave one behind with the keys). Or you could use a rent-a-car or taxi. Please notify the car rental that you are in quarantine so they are aware. Taxis operate under specific rules and people in quarantine are allowed to use them.

 

Q. What do I do after I get tested for COVID-19 on arrival?
A. Please be careful until you receive your test results, which should be within 24 hours of arriving. If you don´t receive information within 24 hours the results can be considered negative. Here you can check the status of your test using your bar code. Positive results are always announced by a phone call. Please have your phone open and be ready to receive calls or messages on the results of the COVID-19 test. If you have questions please use web chat on covid.is.

If your test result is negative, you should nevertheless be careful since the results do not guarantee no infection. If you get ill and symptoms indicate COVID-19, you need to stay in place and arrange another test at the next local health care facility. Common symptoms are fever, aches and pains, dry cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, nausea, possibly vomiting and diarrhoea.

If your test result is positive, you have to avoid all contact with others and go into isolation until further tests have been done if needed. You will receive a phone call from the COVID out-patient ward of the Landspitali University Hospital. If there is a history or suspicioun of a previous infection you might be invited for a consultation and a blood test to provide information as to whether you are infectious and need to stay in isolation for 14 days or whether you are free to continue your travels, with appropriate caution.

Please make sure that you download the app Rakning C-19, available through www.covid.is/app Opnast í nýjum glugga. The app will assist the authorities in cases of infection if necessary. The app also contains information about the healthcare system in Iceland and important tips for your safety.

If you have any concerns about your health, you can use a web chat on heilsuvera.is or dial 1700 or, if calling from a foreign phone number, +354 544 4113.

 

Q. I am in quarantine and need to stay overnight in Reykjavik before I head home, what do I do? Also, can I stay in quarantine with my family/relatives?
A. A traveller in quarantine is allowed to stay one night near the border station before proceeding to the location of quarantine. Some hotels are offering lodgding for people in quarantine. You would need to contact them and ask and this would be your own responsibility. People in quarantine can interact with family but interactions should be limited and certain precautions should be taken as listed in the instructions. Short term travellers, tourists and business travellers, should stay in one location that is registered on arrival although it is allowed to stay one night close to the border on your way to your location of quarantine. Quarantined individual must not leave their home/location unless necessary, e.g. to seek necessary health care services, after consulting with a primary care clinic (via web chat at heilsuvera.is or by phone) or the helpline 1700 (+354 544 4113) or in case of emergency 112. Please notify the responder of the quarantine. It is allowed to travel from quarantine location to and from second border screening.

  

Pets/domestic animals


Q. Is there a risk of COVID-19 infection from pets and domestic animals?
A. The virus is thought to have originated in animals, likely bats, but is now fully adapted to humans and is primarily a public health problem for humans, not animals. There are no reports of COVID-19 spreading from pets or domestic animals to humans. There are isolated cases of the virus being diagnosed in pet dogs and cats that showed no or minimal symptoms. Most likely those animals caught the virus from their owners. The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority will continue to monitor new information on this matter.

 

Q. Can pets stay with COVID-19 patients in isolation?
A. There is no reason not to continue to enjoy the company of pets while in isolation and pets can provide important support in difficult times. It is always a good habit to clean hands after contact with animals and dogs should not generally be allowed to lick people’s faces. Walking the dog is possible while in quarantine and possibly while in isolation in certain circumstances, but careful attention should be paid to limit the risk of contact with others.

 

Q. Can I take care of the pet for someone in isolation or quarantine for COVID-19?
A. Yes, you can care for pets for people in isolation or quarantine who cannot do it themselves, but it is important to observe good hygiene practices. Avoid letting pets lick your face or hands and wash your hands after contact with animals.

 

Q. Should people returning from abroad avoid contact with animals?
A. All travelers returning from abroad must quarantine unless they are exempted due to previous infection with COVID-19 or are fully vaccinated. The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority recommends that people avoid contact with food-producing domestic animals in or around their home while in isolation or quarantine. It is also important to remember, that after contact with animals in foreign countries contact with food-producing animals in Iceland should be deferred for 48 hours.

Q. Can wild animals in Iceland carry COVID-19?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 has not been found in animals in Iceland, neither pets or wild animals.
Minks are susceptible to the virus but the chance of transmission of infection to wild mink is small if contact with humans is limited.

Can individuals with COVID-19 or in quarantine work in mink farms?
Individuals with confirmed COVID-19 are required to isolate. Workers in mink farms, who have history of infection, should still take precautions and not feed the animals or otherwise attend to minks. Both to protect themselves and to minimize risk of infection. Individuals in quarantine due to possible exposure who are asymptomatic need to adhere to rules of quarantine. If there is a suspicion of a COVID-19 infection in a mink, e.g. due to respiratory symptoms or unexplained deaths, a vet should be called and MAST notified.

Additional Q&A regarding animals and COVID-19 can be found in Icelandic on the website for the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority and in English on the WHO website.

The Chief Epidemiologist is monitoring the situation closely and will update and add new information to this site as indicated.


Fyrst birt 24.01.2020
Síðast uppfært 13.11.2021

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