A stricter regime of measures against the COVID-19 pandemic takes effect throughout Iceland as from midnight tonight, Wednesday 24 March 2021. Most gatherings will be limited to 10 people, not counting children born in or after 2015. Junior schools (age 6 to 16), music schools, senior schools and universities will be closed until the beginning of the Easter holidays. Activities of many types involving more than 10 participants will be prohibited. The decision by the Minister of Health to impose these tougher restrictions was based on proposals from the Chief Epidemiologist for an immediate response in view of group infections that have arisen in the country over the past few days so as to limit the spread of the virus. The new rules will remain in force for 3 weeks.
All the new group infections that have broken out in Iceland involve the ‘British’ strain of the corona virus, which is far more readily transmitted than most other variants and causes rather more serious illness. In the light of the fact that the British strain has been shown to have more serious implications for older children, the Chief Epidemiologist urged that the restrictions apply to children as young as six years old. Apart from this, the rules now taking effect are broadly similar to those imposed on 31 October last year, which proved effective in quelling the third wave of the pandemic in Iceland.