Two French tourists pub crawling around Reykjavik bars instead of quarantining have triggered a 1,000% rise in Covid-19 cases in Iceland.
The previously almost infection-free island nation of 340,000 has seen 100 new Covid-19 cases since their arrival, according to the Icelandic newspaper Visir.
Iceland’s infection rate per 100,000 people has risen from 7.3 to 89.7 in 10 days
The French tourists did not isolate like they had agreed to after testing positive on arrival.
Visir reports that instead of isolating, the two actually visited pubs, which is how the infections spread.
An Irish pub and a Brewdog bar accounted for most of the new cases after the strain of the virus brought by the French visitors spread there.
“This French virus, which we might call it, is a bit overwhelming now,” said Iceland’s chief epidemiologist Thorolfur Gudnason. “I have information that it was difficult to get them to follow the instructions,” he said of the tourists. “I really cannot say more.”
Around 3,000 Covid-19 tests have been carried out each day across Iceland over the past week, according to data from the nation’s health ministry. Capacity has ramped up massively, from fewer than 2,000 a day in total, to cope with the spike in cases.
Mass testing throughout the pandemic allowed Iceland to avoid a general lockdown. The population was merely told to be careful and wash their hands regularly.
Iceland has now been added to Britain’s quarantine list.