US News Outbreak of Covid-19 in Iceland: two French people accused without proof

01:20  26 september  2020
01:20  26 september  2020 Source:   leparisien.fr

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Much of the recent outbreak has been linked to two French tourists who broke quarantine rules after arriving in Iceland , causing an outbreak at two bars, while cases have also The nation - home to around 340,000 people - is currently recording 89.7 new cases of Covid - 19 for every 100,000 people .

Latest COVID - 19 updates, advice, facts and trustworthy information on actions taken to contain the outbreak .

La souche dite « française » aurait été détectée dans deux bars du centre-ville de la capitale. © Haraldur Gudjonsson / AFP The so-called “French” strain was reportedly detected in two bars in the city center of the capital.

2,561 positive cases recorded in six months, 10 deaths to be deplored, only one hospitalized patient… Since the start of the pandemic, the whole world has been envious of the management of the Covid-19 epidemic in Iceland. From that to make it an asset in the eyes of tourists? This is perhaps what this French couple said to themselves this summer, when they flew to the island south of the Arctic Circle.

A month later, perhaps they regret this choice. In addition to having tested positive on their arrival at the airport on August 15, these two people are accused of causing an outbreak of contamination in the capital Reykjavik. They would have defied their quarantine and infected other people.

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Allegations without proof

This allegation has been massively taken up in recent hours by many international and French media, obviously giving rise to mockery and shortcuts on the supposed "negligence" of our compatriots.

In reality, this story is not based on any scientific evidence. "There is no indication that French travelers in Iceland have violated the isolation requirements that apply to those who have been diagnosed positive for Covid-19," the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured this Friday noon in Paris. A message also hammered by the local police to the RUV , the national public television.

Very ambiguous official statements

So how did we come to this misunderstanding? In fact, the authorities are partly responsible. It was the island's chief epidemiologist, a sort of Icelandic Jérôme Salomon, who sowed the confusion. On September 21, in the newspaper Visir , Þórólfur Guðnason evokes the contamination in the middle of August of two French tourists. And indicates that similar traces of this variant of the virus have been found in recent days on the hundred positive cases discovered in Reykjavik - which represents a considerable rebound there (about a third of the cases in the country). There was no need for more. The culprits were all found. It was undoubtedly the two French, especially since they had been called to order by the local police during their quarantine.

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Only, the local police said on Friday that they had discussed with the couple during their quarantine after noting the non-compliance with certain rules related to Covid-19. “But there was no reason to fine them,” she assures us, affirming that the two Frenchmen had not braved their “isolation” and had “out of ignorance” of the rules in force. What faults were they exactly? Impossible to know.

"Unfair and unfounded"

In summary, nothing proves any link between the recent peak of contamination, linked in particular to two bars in downtown Reykjavik, and the case of the two French people, who arrived by plane a month earlier . "It is also possible, if not more likely, that there were other people on the plane who were infected and that they were early enough in the infection that they were not detected at the border. So blaming these two French tourists is unfair and unfounded, and I will not participate, ”Kari Stefánsson, CEO of DeCODE Genetics, who is helping Icelandic health authorities, told AFP. in the policy of massive testing.

Contacted by the Parisian, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also regrets the expression of “French strain” used by the epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason. "He admitted that it was not useful to associate a particular variant of the virus with specific individuals or countries."

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