New COVID-19 Regulation to Take Effect A.S.A.P.

Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir.

Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir. mbl.is/Arnþór

Vala Hafstað

Landsréttur, the Icelandic appellate court, yesterday dismissed a case regarding the mandatory stay at a quarantine hotel for travelers coming from high-risk COVID-19 countries. See our previous report here .

The Reykjavík District Court had ruled such a mandatory stay illegal for people who could spend their time in quarantine elsewhere, provided the conditions were acceptable. Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason appealed that ruling to Landsréttur, but since it dismissed the case, the ruling stands.

Þórólfur is currently preparing a new memo to be sent to Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir, mbl.is reports.

Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason.

Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon


“Together, we will attempt to reach the goal of limiting the likelihood of new cases at the border,” Svandís states. “That is the goal, and hopefully we will find good ways to do so, but that doesn’t rule out the need to seek ways to improve the legal environment.”

When asked whether a new bill will be presented in Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, regarding quarantine facilities, she responds that first, the situation needs to be addressed on the basis of existing law.

“It is essential for a new regulation to take effect as soon as possible, and on the basis of that, we will then evaluate whether some sort of changes are needed to the disease prevention law in order to strengthen the [legal] basis,” she explains. A new regulation, she adds, will go into effect in the coming days, and she expects the issue to be discussed at a government meeting Friday.

For society as a whole, major interests are at stake, she concludes.

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