Ten Icelandic nationals tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 26, according to its directorate of health.
All of those individuals were traveling in either northern Italy or Austria.
“It’s clear that in Iceland we have high number of confirmed cases per capita and by international comparison,” the directorate said in a statement. “It’s important to note in this context that authorities have taken wide-ranging measures, e.g. the quarantine of individuals returning from infected areas, isolation of diagnosed cases and early testing.”
There are now 380 people quarantined in Iceland and the country is working on increasing the capacity of diagnosis at Landspitali hospital in Reykjavik.
An Icelandair flight to Italy on Saturday will collect 70 Icelanders stranded there, and the 12 Icelandic nationals who have been quarantined in Tenerife are also expected to return on Saturday, according to state media.
All four crew on the flight to Verona are nurses and will be dressed in protective clothing.
“This is clearly unusual but this is the most responsible and safe way to get these people home,” said Haukur Reynisson, head of operations for Icelandair.
A high proportion of those infected were in the Hotel Aaritz in the town of Selva in Trentino, northern Italy. Of 14 Icelanders there, 12 have been infected, according to state broadcaster RUV.