A 36-year-old Australian man diagnosed with Covid-19 has died in Iceland, while his wife has been quarantined with the illness.
However, doctors said the man’s symptoms were atypical for the novel coronavirus, and although he had the illness they are continuing to investigate the cause of his death, Iceland’s national broadcaster reported.
“While he was found to be infected with the coronavirus, it is unlikely to have been the cause of his death,” epidemiologist Dr Thorolfur Gudnason, the chief of the health directorate’s national vaccination program, told public broadcaster RUV. “His symptoms came on very quickly and were not those usually associated with Covid-19 deaths.”
The man, who has not been named, presented to a medical clinic in Husavik, a small town in Iceland’s north, seriously unwell and died suddenly.
His death is the first Covid-19-related death in Iceland and the first Australian to die overseas with the illness. His wife remains in isolation after also testing positive to Covid-19.
Healthcare workers who treated the man are being quarantined and the medical centre is being disinfected. Officials are tracing any contacts the couple had while travelling the country.
A government statement said: “Complex work will follow in this case, both surrounding the man’s death and in supporting his nearest. It is also necessary to support the healthcare workers who came into contact with the man and put them into quarantine, sanitise the healthcare centre, at the same time as ensuring essential health services for the people of Húsavík.
“All these projects are undertaken by the civil protection branch of the state police, in close cooperation with the chief epidemiologist, the Directorate of Health, the Red Cross and the north Iceland civil protection coordination centre and north Iceland health authorities.”
Alma Möller, Iceland’s surgeon medical director, was reported in the daily newspaper Morgunbladid as saying an autopsy showed the man was suffering from pneumonia.
Australia’s department of foreign affairs and trade is providing consular assistance to the man’s family through the Australian Embassy in Denmark and the Canadian Embassy in Iceland.
Nearly 4000 people are in quarantine in Iceland and 330 people have been confirmed as having Covid-19. Seven are currently hospitalised and nine have recovered.
Globally, Covid-19 has infected more than 242,000 people and killed nearly 10,000 since emerging in central China late last year. The spread of the virus has frozen global travel, seized trade and markets and collapsed economies, leaving governments scrambling to contain the outbreak.