fbpx
Johann - The CEO of Reykjavik Outventure

Jóhann Viking

CORONA VIRUS IN ICELAND – COVID-19

One of the most significant pandemics in recent times is circulating the world, and of course, there are lots of questions about this disease. While efforts are still going on in several affected countries on getting a complete cure for the patients, unaffected countries are putting preventive measures in place to ensure that they don’t come in, including Iceland. However, you may or may not have heard all there is to know about the Corona virus, especially with all the unfiltered information being propagated through social media. So, first, let’s discuss exactly what the Corona virus is and how it is being fought around the world.

Facts about the Corona virus

With more than 119,000 people around the world known to be infected with this disease and not less than 4,200 deaths recorded, there is no doubt that the new Coronavirus is spreading rapidly. However, most of these cases and deaths have been experienced in China, the epicenter of the virus outbreak. Despite this, it is spreading internationally while efforts are underway to curtail it. Coronaviruses belong to the family of viruses known to lead to disease in animals. So far, about seven have leaped humans, but most only cause cold-like symptoms. There are two other coronaviruses different from this recent strain: the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). However, compared to the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, they are far more dangerous and have killed no less than 1,500 people since 2002.

Out of all the confirmed cases so far, only 20 percent have been classified as critical or severe. Another within the range of 15 to 20 percent is said to be severe, while the current death rate still hangs between 0.7 and 3.4 percent. However, factors that affect these figures are location and access to proper healthcare services. All in all, this is much lower than the death rates for SARS, which stands at 10 percent and MERS, which is a whopping 30 percent. Despite this, it still poses a significant threat.

According to scientists in China, the Coronavirus has mutated into two strains, which could make it even more complicated to develop a vaccine. Various reports have suggested that the source of this outbreak is the Wet Market in Wuhan, where traders engaged in the sale of both live and dead animals.Such markets present an increased risk of viruses leaping from animals to humans as there are abysmal hygiene standards in areas where animals are butchered close to live ones. Usually, they are also densely packed. As at this moment, no one knows the animal source of this outbreak,but the original host is believed to be bats. The bats were not sold in the Wuhan market but may have infected live chickens or other animals sold there. Bats are known to harbor a vast range of zoonotic viruses, including rabies, HIV and ebola.

It is not possible to say in which direction the disease will go, but, in its current trajectory, there is a high possibility that it could spread to more countries. The good news is that the number of cases is starting to decrease in China.Initial symptoms include a general feeling of being unwell, tiredness, dry cough, and fever. Data from the Chinese authorities shows that around 80 percent of the cases of the disease are mild, but 20 percent require hospitalization. So far, about 382 people in the UK have tested positive for the virus. It has been noticed that the trajectory of severe cases focuses on the elderly and those who already have underlying health problems. An older person with underlying health problems became the first person in Britain to die after being diagnosed with the disease, a piece of information confirmed by the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust. Police have received unprecedented powers to compel people at risk for coronaviruses to be quarantined.

Placing patients and those who have come in contact with those infected under quarantine is an excellent way of minimizing the spread of this Coronavirus. As no vaccines have been made for this virus, doctors are testing existing medications for illnesses such as Ebola and HIV. The first results look promising, but until the full clinical trials have been completed, doctors cannot be sure that the drugs are effective.However, work is still ongoing to develop an effective vaccine despite complications caused by the mutation of the virus.

Like the cold and flu viruses, the virus is spread through drops when a person coughs or sneezes. The drops fall on the surfaces and are collected in the hands of others and spread even further. People contract the virus when they touch infected hands with their mouth, nose, or eyes.It follows that the most important way of protecting yourself from the Coronavirus is to keep your hands clean by washing as much as possible with soap and water. A hand sanitizer gel can also be used. There is some deliberation about whether the disease is transmitted through the air. There is still no evidence of it, but that could change. Viruses in the air remain for a more extended time than those spread by the droplets and can also be transmitted in ventilation and air conditioning systems.Experts say that the disease can only be transferred between close contacts, defined as spending more than 15 minutes, two meters from an infected person.

Several crazy conspiracy theories have been circulating that the Coronavirus escaped from a Chinese laboratory, either by accident or by design. However, this is categorically false, and scientists who study its genetic code have related it to bats. There are speculations that it jumped from one animal to another, which then transmitted it to humans.

In addition to reporting in China, the disease is now found in more than 80 countries around the world, including popular Southeast Asian vacation destinations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand.Italy has also seen a lot of cases, prompting authorities to impose a blockade in the north of the country.Iran in the Middle East is also particularly affected.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns against travel to China at this critical time. British travellers contracted the disease from a tourist companion at a French ski resort earlier this month, but all recovered and were released from the hospital. At the Tenerife hotel, where an Italian guest tested positive, other tourists were trapped in there for a while. The passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship were quarantined for several weeks. While the Covid-19 is similar to SARS and MERS, it is significantly less lethal.

SARS and MERS are also coronaviruses that cause acute respiratory infections. They also originated from bats, SARS transmitting to humans via civet cats, and MERS reaching via camels. In 2002, the first case ofSARS was reported in China, and from there, it spread to 27 countries, infecting about 8,000 people and killing 700. It spread rapidly at first but later became extinct. On the other hand, MERS, which was first seen in 2012 in Jordan, is considered more tenacious. To date, some 2,500 cases have been identified. It is deadlier than SARS, claiming as much as 850 lives in total.In about 14 percent of coronavirus cases, the virus causes severe illness, including pneumonia and difficulty breathing. It is critical in just about five percent of patients where they experience multiple organ failure, septic shock, and respiratory failure.

WHO reports that the death rate in Wuhan is two to four percent, while it is about 0.7 percent in the rest of China and other countries around the world. The health services in Wuhan are overwhelmed with patients which could explain why the death rate is significantly higher in this region. However, men are said to be more susceptible to a severe form of Coronavirus. This also affects people with underlying conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.The 1918 Spanish flu which spread worldwide and led to as much as 100 million deaths is said to be the deadliest outbreak in modern history. However, compared to the Hong Kong flu, Asian flu of 1957 and Swine flu outbreak in 2009, the Coronavirus epidemic is much smaller.

How safe is Iceland from the CoronaVirus / Covid-19

How safe is Iceland?

Iceland also has its concerns when it comes to Coronavirus or COVID-19. The first case was discovered in Iceland in late February, and a week later, there were 37 confirmed cases. This may sound high, but we believe the Icelandic authorities are using a few, but very useful, and even unique methods that will ensure that this terrible outbreak is not as severe as it appears to be in other countries.

All confirmed cases are Icelanders who were in Austria and Italy for a ski trip. As it stands, the virus is not yet spreading among Icelandic citizens. All of these people are in quarantine. And none of them is severely affected as authorities confirm that it will take a long time before the country gets to the point where people will spread the virus in the country. However, these first measures will undoubtedly ensure that this outbreak is not as severe as, for example, in Italy. Therefore, when it comes to safety in Iceland from the Coronavirus, we can say that it is guaranteed. None of the infected persons have been integrated into society. As it has already been established that only those with the virus can pass it on to others, it is safe to say that there is no risk in sight.

As expected, the Iceland government has put up some special measures to curtail the spread of the virus and misinformation in the country. The first is complete transparency. All agencies involved, and others related to the outbreak have daily press conferences, even if there is nothing new. This is important for a few reasons. It combats false information circulating on the internet, ensures that the correct information on sanitation is spread around, and the proper reaction is delivered to people. These lectures are live on Iceland’s largest news sites, radio, and television. So, you can’t miss it.

Another particularly considerable measure put into place is the introduction of paid quarantine to encourage people to come forward. The government, in association with the Icelandic Employers’ Confederation and Icelandic unions, have reached an agreement to pay people wages for being in quarantine. What’s more, it doesn’t affect your sick leave at all. People must remain in quarantine because the risk is that an entire company will have to close if an employer interrupts its quarantine. This is also logical because breaking the quarantine intentionally is illegal as it puts the lives of others in danger. Such people risk prison time or a hefty fine. Therefore, citizens in Iceland are extra careful and willing to cooperate if, for any reason, there is a need to have them quarantined.

The Iceland authorities are also encouraging coordination between various institutions. Health workers, the police, the government, and others are working closely together. And they are doing the heavy lifting. They have tested the virus on 368 people, and about 400 are in quarantine. So, for Icelanders, this is a great operation. There have also been significant steps to control misinformation through the media. One of the biggest problems with this first virus, in the internet age, is misinformation. Those who are spreading false information are faced with very critical thinking, and the people of Iceland are much better at separating the nonsense from the facts, due to the daily press conference. So far, these measures have worked effectively as Iceland doesn’t have a high incidence of Coronavirus, like several other countries around the world.

Coronavirus and the seasonal flu

Combating a pandemic in the digital age comes with a lot of drawbacks. The biggest is the possibility of misinformation. Videos and images can be spread with various captions to instigate panic or pass across unverified information. When news of the Wuhan virus spread online, a video became an emblem of its declared origin. This video showed a young Chinese woman, allegedly in Wuhan, biting a practically entire bat while holding the creature with chopsticks. Several media platforms promoted this video, including The Daily Mail media, as did several prominent extremist bloggers like Paul Joseph Watson. Thousands of Twitter users blamed the outbreak for allegedly “dirty” Chinese eating habits, in particular the consumption of wildlife, which is said to have started in a so-called wet market selling animals in Wuhan, China.

There was only one problem. The video was not set in Wuhan, where the bat is not a delicacy. It wasn’t even from China. Instead, he showed Wang Mengyun, the host of an online travel program, eating a plate in Palau, a Pacific island nation. According to the tourist, this was merely a way of experiencing the adventure and enthusiasm that comes with trying out unusual food. This practice is quite common with numerous American chefs and travel hosts.

In a moment of the greatest fear of a viral pandemic, the Palau video spread to Europe and the United States as a means of spreading the narrative that foreigners, especially Asians, have disgusting eating habits. Images of Chinese or other Asians who eat insects or snakes frequently circulate on social media or clickbait news. People are also spreading another old racist idea that dirty Chinese are carriers of the disease. Many Americans long believed that as far back as 1854. Today, those same ideas have often been transferred to other groups, such as South American refugees, but they persist in the way some Westerners think about China.These prejudices can fuel fear and racism. As the Wuhan virus spreads, the Chinese as a group are more and more likely to be blamed for its incubation and spread. In countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, where there are already clashes between ethnic Chinese, those feelings could become unpleasant. In the West, especially under the Trump administration, it could fuel public and government prejudice.

Undoubtedly, wildlife treatment may be at the root of the virus. Wet markets where live animals are sold, mainly for food or medicine, still exist in most Chinese cities, and the Huanan seafood market was initially believed to be the source of this outbreak. The Chinese government has banned wildlife trade until the epidemic ends.But it turns out that the market may not have been the cause of the outbreak at all. A new study shows that the first known victims had no contact with the market. And while the virus currently appears to have originated from bats, it’s unclear how it got to humans. Chances are no one was involved in devouring the creatures of the night.

The new coronavirus outbreak has been in the news in recent weeks, but there is another viral epidemic affecting countries around the world: the flu season. So, what are the similarities or differences between the seasonal flu and Coronavirus? So far, the new Coronavirus has caused more than 100,000 diseases and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that is nothing compared to the flu, also called influenza. Only in the USA, the flu has caused approximately 34 million illnesses, with 350,000 hospitalized and about 20,000 confirmed dead based on reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As opposed to the novel Coronavirus, scientists have studied seasonal flu for decades. So, despite the danger, there is sufficient information about the flu and what to expect when it is in season. This means that COVID-19 is a kind of wild card in terms of its impact in the foreseeable future.

Despite influenza morbidity and mortality, there is a certainty of seasonal influenza. There is a guarantee that as we get to March and April, flu cases will decrease. The problem now with COVID-19 is that there are many unknowns. However, more research is still ongoing to give us a better understanding of the virus and the threat it poses. From what we know so far, this is how it compares to the flu.

The influenza A and influenza B viruses, and COVID-19 cause respiratory illness.Typical symptoms of the flu, according to the CDC, include diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, and fever. While flu symptoms come up suddenly, most people usually recover in as little as two weeks. However, others suffer from complications, including pneumonia.

With COVID-19, efforts are still ongoing to get the full picture of its severity and symptoms. According to the CDC, the symptoms reported in patients range from mild to severe and may include shortness of breath, cough, and fever.According to the WHO,it may be difficult to distinguish between different respiratory infections based on symptoms alone as they are quite similar.

Taking a tour in Iceland - Blue Lagoon Iceland

Taking a tour in Iceland

With the spread of Coronavirus, a big question going through the mind of several people is if it is safe to take a tour in Iceland during this time. The answer is a resounding yes. The only condition attached is that you should not be coming from an already infected area, and you are free to come down to Iceland to see the numerous natural wonders it has to offer. Taking a tour in Iceland is 100% safe as we have so far been able to contain any coronavirus incident. Our landmarks are waiting for you. You can make memories at the fantastic ice caves, which are indeed one of a kind or experience the wonders of our numerous extraordinary waterfalls. However, to get the best out of Iceland, you need the guidance of experts who knows the terrain like the back of their hands. Our tour guides at Reykjavik Outventure have spent several years navigating through the best places in Iceland, complete with history lessons in a fun way to help you learn a bit more about the roots of the beautiful country.

Here is an extra tip: you can take an extra safety step by booking our private tours. With the private tours, you move at your own pace and with less bodily interactions with people. So, if you are a little worried about the possibility of being in contact with a lot of people, a private tour will help you solve this problem quickly. A private tour could include a visit to famous tourist spots with just you and a local guide. It provides you with in-depth knowledge of a particular topic, such as a country’s food culture or architecture, led by a professional in the field.Here are other benefits of picking our private tours:

  • Hang out with the people you want: Meeting new people on tour can sometimes be half the fun of your vacation, but there is always a risk that there is someone on the journey that you don’t get along with and who can sometimes put the brakes on the trip. In this scenario, where you would like to be extra cautious because of the Coronavirus, you can decide to go on a private tour with just close friends and family. By booking a private trip, you have the opportunity to bring together the people you want to hang out with and feel like they would enjoy the same type of vacation as you while feeling genuinely safe.
  • You can access exclusive experiences: Yes, you can plan your own family and friends’ vacations without the help of a tour company. However, we are sure that you will miss out on amazing experiences that just aren’t available to the general public. On many of our private tours, we can establish exclusive experiences such as private tastings with winemakers, or walking tours that dive deeper than the general public routes that only touch the surface.
  • The extra knowledge: You may not be aware of all the wonderful experiences available to you in a specific location. Although you can do extensive research online, there are still plenty of amazing experiences, restaurants, and local activities that may be brand new or not yet shared on social media. After every tour, we always look for ways to make the next one even better as your experience with us counts. We will help you create the best itinerary by suggesting exciting activities that may not have been on your radar.
  • Take the trip you want, the way you want: We pride ourselves on creating fun and engaging itineraries, but we still understand that not everyone is thrilled to do each of the activities we have chosen. That’s where private tours shine. You choose the people you want to go with, the destination and the activities you want to do. With the help of our team of experienced tour guides, you can build the vacation of your dreams.
  • Go when you want to go: We all would love to be able to drop everything and go on vacation when we want, but the reality is that we have many responsibilities and obligations in our lives that should come first. Sometimes public tour dates just don’t fit a busy schedule the way you’d like. With a private tour, you can schedule your vacation for when it works best for you.

Among the benefits, you choose your itinerary, or the guide customizes the tour according to your interests.The guide will pick you up from your hotel in a private car at the time you choose. You never waste time traveling to other hotels to pick up other travellers or wait for them to get on the bus.If you are curious about history and interested in the stories of real people from the place you are visiting, a private guide can make a difference. You can ask your private guide questions, receive individual attention as you progress at your own pace. We have a solid relationship with the best tour guides in the country. Our clients have benefited from the guides’ experience, their local knowledge, and love for the cities in which they live. Private tours enhance travel experiences, making them more memorable.

Reykjavik Outventure Private Tours in Iceland

Reykjavik Outventure Private Tours

At Reykjavik Outventure, we have tons of private tours available for your pleasure. Every one of them has been specially planned to ensure that you have access to the best sights in Iceland, all combined to give you an unforgettable experience. Here are some of our private tours:

1. Private South Coast, Glacier Lagoon & Ice Cave

This tour starts with a pickup at any spot of your choice in Reykjavik. The tour guide will take you first to the magical Seljalandsfoss while serenading you with tales of trolls and elves while on the journey. You will spend some time on the walking trail of this waterfall before heading over to the Skógafoss waterfall. No doubt, the first sight of this waterfall will leave you dazzled. Little wonder Game of Thrones was filmed here. Several other stops in this private tour are the Black Sand Beach and Vatnajokull glacier, the biggest glacier in Iceland. The lagoon filled with ice cubes and the diamond-filled beach will undoubtedly leave you lost for words.

Book our exclusive Private Tour around the South Coast with a visit to the world famous Glacier Lagoon (Jökulsárlón)

2. Private Reykjanes Peninsula tour

On this tour, you will be visiting Brimketill, Reykjanes cliffs, Gunnuhver, the bridge between two continents, and the renowned Black Church. Of course, the trip starts from your location in Reykjavik, where you will stop at eth northernmost part of Reykjanes first. Here, you will get to see one of the oldest lighthouses in Iceland and another built during the second world war. After learning all you need to know about this lighthouse, you will move over to the oldest village in this peninsula known as the Hafnir. It won’t be an overstatement to say that this place is power-packed with gems and a lot of history. Here, you will visit the old Black Church before heading over to the bridge between two continents. Believe in ghosts? Well, a visit to Gunna may give you a few ideas. The final stop is a small pool where you can enjoy a relaxing dip. You can book our Private Reykjanes Peninsula tour here

Private South Coast tour Iceland - Reykjavík Outventure

3. Private South Coast tour + Glacier touch

Say hello to Cape Dyrhólaey, Black Sand Beach, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss on this tour designed to take your breath away. You can also see a lava exhibition if you want to. Our tour guide has so many stories to tell, and you will certainly enjoy listening to tales of monsters, Vikings, trolls, and hidden people. The first stop is Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and if you are going on a sunny day, you will most certainly see a rainbow beautify the clear blue skies. You will also be stopping at the Skógafoss waterfall, where you can see the water run down from the top. Get your hiking boots ready to explore the trail to Fimmvörðuháls, which starts at this waterfall. There is something special at islands, and Cape Dyrhóley is no different. You get an exhilarating feeling while you watch the volcano Katla on one side, breath in the air of the North Atlantic ocean on the other hand, and viewing the black sand beach all around you. We definitely won’t forget the basaltic rocks, which are surreal. We saved the best for last on this exciting tour with the Lava Exhibition at Hvolfsvollur. While this is optional, you wouldn’t want to miss this high-tech exhibition for the world. It gives you the sensation of being in the middle of a huge eruption, with earthquakes and tremors that feel a hundred percent real. Join us in this private south coast tour

Private South Coast & Glacier Lagoon tour - Iceland

4. Private South Coast & Glacier Lagoon tour

Head out on a remarkable journey to Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Black sand beach Reynisfjara, Glacier lagoon, and Diamond Beach. There is almost nothing as amazing as standing behind the Seljalandsfoss waterfall while the sun shines on your face, and you are admiring a colorful rainbow. You get to experience this and more on this private south coast and glacier lagoon tour. Next is the Skógafoss waterfall, which we can only describe with the word perfect. Enjoy the view from the top before heading over to Reynisfjara, otherwise known as the Black Sand Beach, where you will see the black basaltic rocks. The Glacier Lagoon puts the perfect cap on this tour. Every person who has come on this tour is always mesmerized by the ice in the ocean and being surrounded by beautiful glaciers. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime experience. Want to see amazing landmarks in one private tour around the South Coast of Iceland then you book here.

Private Snæfellsnes Peninsula tour - Iceland

5. Private Snæfellsnes Peninsula tour

From Arnarstapi, Búðir, and Djúpalón to Saxhóll and Kirkjufell, this carefully planned private tour touches some of the best places in Iceland. After our tour guide picks you up, you will be going to the fantastic peninsula and Búðir. Budir sits close to the ocean and is the site of the old Black Church. After being entertained by seals, the next stop is a deep and narrow ravine called Rauðafeldsgjá, which is located inside the cliffs at the south end of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It is a ravine with its little waterfall as well. Another stunning place you will check out is Arnarstapi. Nothing you have ever imagined will prepare you for this sight of this beautiful and dramatic landscape. All you have to do is marvel at the ocean around you while you observe at the edge of the cliffs. You would feel like spending all day in this serene environment, but you won’t get to because there are still other sights even more amazing than this. One of them is the Black Lava Pearl Beach, which you will be visiting next. Nothing we say will give you an idea of what to expect; you can only see this for yourself. Next up is Saxholl, a crater. You will be encouraged to walk on it, which will give you a great view of the peninsula. It is one of the most famous craters in this area and for good reasons too. Finally, the tour comes to a wonderful end with a visit to the mountain Kirkjufell and the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, which is right next to it. It is a magical place.
Book this exclusive Private tour around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Private Golden Circle & Secret Lagoon tour - Iceland

6. Private Golden Circle & Secret Lagoon tour

Where would you be going on this tour? The itinerary includes the Dairy farm, secret lagoon, Kerid, Gullfoss, Geysir, and Þingvellir. This tour starts a little different from the others, though. The tour guide picking you up from your location will be a local Viking. Yes, you heard that right. This Viking is never short of stories about the Icelandic nature and every other thing that is a source of pride to us in Iceland. While listening to these stories, you will be on your way to the national park called Þingvellir, which is filled with a lot of Icelandic history. This was where the first parliament of Iceland was made, and dozens of other events took place at this spot. Next up is the volcanic crater called Kerid, which has a lake in it. While most of Iceland’s soil has stones, sand, and black caldera, this particular crater has rocks and red caldera. The food in Iceland is also part of its rich history, and you will be able to enjoy food made by the local farmers. It doesn’t hurt to admire the bulls and cows while you dine. If you have heard anything about hot springs, you know that they are simply fantastic. Geysir, which is a part of the geothermal area in Haukadalur Valley, is a hot spring that is absolutely lovely to watch as it explodes. Next is the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall, which you can spend hours marveling at its beauty. This tour wouldn’t be complete without taking a bath in The Secret Lagoon, and that is exactly what you would do. You can book this amazing Private Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon Tour here

There are several more private tours available at Reykjavik Outventure, and we invite you to head over to Iceland for an unforgettable experience. You are completely safe from the Coronavirus, and you will get to add that much-needed excitement into your life. Get ready for the vacation of a lifetime.