Iceland On High Alert Over COVID Infected Brazilian Ship Crew

The pandemic situation in the Nordic countries is somewhat under control courtesy of their strict COVID testing protocol. One such country, Iceland tackled the COVID stimulation with mandatory 5-day tests for all who land on their soil by sea or air. But a new Brazilian ship has alerted the authorities.

The Brazilian ship, Taurus Confidence came to Eastern Iceland’s Reyðarfjörður region with a COVID-infected crew. 10 of the 19 crew members of the ship coming from São Luís do Maranhão have tested positive for the virus. They are part of the ship supplying albumin to Iceland’s aluminium plants.

So far the infected crew is isolated while the rest have been put in quarantine on board the ship. They are under strict police surveillance. The Chinese Embassy has been informed about the situation as all the 19 crew members are Chinese nationals.

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Representation Image – Photograph by Keegan Welken

Brazilian Strain Reported

A report given by the Icelandic Ministry of Health reveals that the infected crew has the Brazilian P.1 variant of the virus as informed by
Kári Stefánsson, director of DeCode, a genetic research company that is entrusted with COVID sequencing in Iceland.

This has made the country go on high alert as it is the first case of the Brazilian strain in the country. So far this variant was absent in Iceland. The health department has taken all precautions and is strictly monitoring the situation to prevent the spread of the new strain in the country.

Although situations are under control, health officials fear what will happen when the infected need hospitalization. In such a condition, the spread of the new strain will become a potential concern.

Initially, a day before the arrival, the captain of the ship has notified the port authorities about 7 COVID patients onboard the vessel, informed Garðar Jóhannsson, director of Nesskip, an Icelandic shipping company, the local shipping agent of the ship

Half the New Cases

Iceland has successfully controlled the third wave of the pandemic recently and is wary of any outbreaks. Amidst this, the infections onboard Taurus Confidence is rattling the nation’s confidence. The no. of cases on the ship is half of the confirmed cases in Iceland last weekend.

With a population of 369000 people, Iceland has 21 new cases. 11 contagions have been recorded. 3 of these new cases were outside of quarantine or isolation. They didn’t have any link to any other COVID cases. The authorities on their toes about these undetected people moving freely.

The new cases have resulted in 435 people being quarantined with 57 more being isolated. The pandemic burden in Iceland so far had been 6122 confirmed cases with 29 deaths, 330 hospitalization, and 53 ICU admissions.

Till March 23, 4.5% of Iceland’s population, nearly 16906 people have received the 2 complete doses of vaccine. 5.7%, 21056 people are waiting for their second dose. Iceland has used 54868 vaccine doses so far.


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