Civil Protection’s Emergency Phase Activated in Iceland

Vala Hafstað

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Civil Protection Department’s emergency phase was activated in Iceland yesterday by the national police commissioner, in consultation with the chief epidemiologist. mbl.is reports. This is the fourth time during the pandemic that the emergency phase is activated.

According to a statement posted on the Department’s website, the chief epidemiologist and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management believe that as long as society unites in slowing down and limiting social gatherings as much as possible, this situation is temporary and brighter times ahead with fewer restrictions.

“Since the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was first confirmed here at the beginning of December [2021], the COVID-19 pandemic has grown exponentially,” the statement reads. “Although restrictions on social gatherings were tightened December 23, they have not succeeded in substantially bringing down the daily number of new domestic infections, which these days count between 1,000 and 1,200, in addition to a considerable rise in the number of infections confirmed at the border. Therefore, the situation is tough and getting tougher day by day.

“Landspítali National University Hospital has been operating at an emergency phase since December 28, and the director of health expects the situation to worsen considerably in the near future at other healthcare facilities — due to an increasing number of COVID-19 patients and the rising number of employees in isolation. If forecasts regarding the number of hospitalizations prove right, those numbers can be expected to rapidly rise in the near future.

“In light of the aforesaid, it is the assessment of the national police commissioner that the Civil Protection Department’s emergency phase should be declared. That way, businesses and institutions activate their response plans at the highest level during full operation. That does not have a general effect on the public, but first and foremost concerns businesses, institutions and response parties, which have a role in the response plan of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and that of the chief epidemiologist.

“The chief epidemiologist, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, and a steering group in charge of COVID-19-related projects will continue monitoring the pandemic’s development and make decisions accordingly,” the statement concludes.

You can view the definition of the Civil Protection’s emergency phases here.

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