Further restrictions likely on the way

Dr. Þórólfur Guðnason, the Chief Epidemiologist of the Icelandic Directorate of Health, has prepared a memo for the government of Iceland where he recommends the introduction of new restrictions to further slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Iceland‘s pandemic response team held a press conference earlier today to review the current state of infections as the nation has seen a rather sharp increase in cases in the past few days.

On Wednesday 78 individuals tested positive for the virus, of which 52 were already fully vaccinated, 5 were partially vaccinated, 18 were not vaccinated and 19 were already in quarantine. Mbl.is reports that these are among the highest daily numbers seen in Iceland since the start of the pandemic. The Covid.is information website states that currently one person is hospitalised with Covid-19.

All 78 cases were detected in the local population with not a single person testing positive on the border.

Dr. Guðnason would not disclose what restrictions he will suggest but he did say that the measures would be aimed at activities within the country as opposed to focusing on people arriving from abroad. The government will meet Friday to discuss the memo and to decide on what actions to take.

There are worries that the recent trend in infections will put Iceland on the “red list” of other nations, meaning that when visitors return to their home countries they may face stricter requirements regarding testing or quarantining.

Some also worry that public gatherings may be capped which would lead to the remaining summer festivals, scattered throughout Iceland, to be cancelled or postponed. The largest of these events, the Þjóðhátið music festival in the island Vestmannaeyjar, is scheduled to take place July 30th to August 1st. In past years the event has attracted as many as 17.000 revellers.

Mbl.is reports that in light of the recent spike in cases festival planners are now considering to require that guests show proof of a negative PCR test to be allowed to attend. ai@mbl.is

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