Iceland’s response

Þetta efni er komið inn í Categories

Government objectives and actions

The objective of the measures taken in Icelandic authorities have from the beginning had a clear purpose, that is to ensure that the necessary infrastructure — particularly to include the healthcare system — is able to withstand the strain that the illness will cause in Iceland.

In this context, it is important to stress that anyone could contract the virus, but that the vast majority of people will not become seriously ill. Older people and those with underlying medical conditions are most vulnerable to serious illness. In order to protect these groups, we must join forces to slow down the spread of the virus and thereby ensure that these vulnerable individuals have ready access to effective, efficient healthcare service if they need it.

In the beginning the aim was to spread out the strain over a longer period of time so that healthcare institutions in Iceland can provide the best possible care to all.

Easy to read information about the corona-virus.

Large-scale testing underway in Iceland:

Iceland has tested a higher proportion of the population than most other countries yielding valuable insights into the behaviour of the virus.
The most recent data is available on the website.

Main measures taken:

Early definition of high-risk areas
Quarantine requirements of all residents returning from areas abroad.
Large-scale screening for COVID-19
High infection tracing rate (over 95% to date)
Quarantine requirements for anyone who has been in contact with infected individuals
Ban on larger gatherings (20-person limit)
University and upper secondary school-closures. Limited opening of elementary schools and preschools
Active communication with the general public, including daily press briefings

Timeline:

25 May Easing of restrictions on gatherings. Gatherings of up to 200 people are allowed. Gyms can be re-opened with restrictions on maximum capacity (50% of normal capacity). All restaurants and bars can be open but must close by 11 PM. The "2-meter rule"-distance between individuals, will be interpreted more as a societal norm and courtesy for individuals who are vulnerable or have a preference for such distancing. Easing of restrictions in nursing homes.

18 May   Swimming pools reopen and operate with limitations, such as maximum number of guests.

15 May   New quarantine rules take effect. Self-quarantine for 14 days is still an obligation when arriving to Iceland, but restrictions on modified quarantine are extended. Greenland and Faroe Islands are no longer defined as high risk areas. Thus, there are no quarantine restrictions in Iceland when arriving from these countries. Travel restrictions and border measures will be reevaluated before June 15.

4 May  Relaxation of ban on gatherings and school activities effective. The limit on the number of people who may gather is increased from 20 to 50. Preschools and primary schools open, athletic and youth activities are unrestricted. Upper secondary schools, universities, and other activities can re-open.

24 April    Quarantine rules changed. All people entering Iceland are required to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival. At the same time, temporary internal border controls will be adopted within the Schengen Area. The will rules remain in effect until 15 May.

22 April    Minister of Health announces 14 day quarantine for international arrivals and temporary Schengen border controls.

21 April   Announcement of relaxation of ban on gatherings and school activities, effective 4 May 2020. The limit on the number of people who may gather will be increased from 20 to 50; pre-schools and primary schools will open; athletic and youth activities will be unrestricted. It will be possible to re-open upper secondary schools, universities, and other activities.

3 April    Minister of Health prolongs ban on gatherings and closures of schools from the 13th of April to the 4th of May.

2 April   The infection tracing app Rakning C-19 becomes available for downloading from the App Store and Google Play to support the work of a 50-person infection tracing unit.

31 March   Iceland becomes a party to an international contract enabling the Icelandic authorities to join a European states collective procurement of various healthcare equipment.

27 March   The General Prosecutor gets permission to impose fines for breach of rules regarding quarantine and isolation.

24 March   Further restrictions on gatherings and ban on public events take effect. The General Hospital announces the first death of a patient diagnosed with COVID-19.

22 March   Minister of Health announces further restrictions, limiting on gatherings to 20 people or less. Sports clubs, hair salons and similar establishments are closed.

19 March   All countries defined as having high-risk for infection. All Icelandic citizens and residents in Iceland arriving from abroad must undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.

15 March   Results from screening indicates low rate of infections among the general public.

14 March   Icelandic authorities advise Icelanders from travelling and encourage Icelanders travelling abroad to consider hasting their return to Iceland.

13 March   Screening for the virus that causes COVID-19 starts among the general public. First cases of transmissions that could not be traced. A ban on gatherings of more than 100 people is implemented. Upper secondary schools (high schools) and Universities closed and operations of Kindergartens and Primary schools are limited.

6 March   First two transmissions within Iceland confirmed, traced to infected individuals who had recently traveled to Northern Italy. Alert level raised to emergency phase.

28 February   First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Iceland. DCPEM declare the alert phase.

27 February   First of daily press conferences, attended by Chief Epidemiologist, Director of Health and Chief Superintendent.

3 February   Iceland defines high-risk areas, including Northern Italy and Tyrol, earlier than other states, taking stricter measures with a 14-day quarantine requirement for all residents returning from those areas.

31 January    A meeting in the National Security Council with the Minister of Health and Chief Epidemiologist. The National Crisis Co-ordination Center evoked by DCPEM.

30 January   The World Health Organization (WHO) declares a state of emergency globally.

29 January   Chief Epidemiologist advises against unnecessary travel to China and recommends that people travelling from China undertake 14 days quarantine.

27 January State of uncertainty declared due to the Corona-virus outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Outlook:

A team of scientists from the University of Iceland, the Directorate of Health, the National University Hospital, are working with the Chief Epidemiologist to forecast the spread of the virus to inform the decision making of Icelandic health the decision-making of Icelandic health authorities.
Further information and graphs are available in Icelandic here: www.covid.hi.is
The forecast model will be updated as new data from testing comes in.

Iceland’s unique geographical situation:

Island state
Few points of entry, most international arrivals through Keflavik International Airport
Lowest population density in Europe (1/10th of that of the US, similar to Australia)

Government objectives and actions

On March 6 Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist and the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Managemen declared the highest alert level — an emergency phase— as a result of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. This was done in accordance with the Pandemic National Response Plan.  These measures primarily affect key institutions and companies in Iceland, so that they will take the action necessary to address the genuine threat stemming from COVID-19. All actions taken during an epidemic affect people’s daily lives, but to varying degrees. The authorities are therefore introducing measures that are known to be successful. We focus on evidence-based measures that have a successful track record, such as quarantine at home (self-quarantine), isolation for infected persons, early diagnosis of infection, and effective information disclosure to the public. A ban on gatherings for 100 people or more was imposed and on March 24 a stricter measure was inforced with a ban on gatherings for 20 people or more.

The premise for these actions is that there be a community-wide consensus: that we all agree to follow expert advice and participate together in this endeavor. Infectious diseases affect individuals’ health, but they also affect the well-being of the entire community. Civil protection is in our hands.

Icelandic authorities are taking strict measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the country, according to news from the Government of Iceland. The heaviest focus has been on testing, contact tracing and quarantine of individuals considered to be likely carriers. Furthermore, very strict measures have been in place for several weeks to protect the groups considered most vulnerable from infection as well as measures to minimize the risk of infection at medical establishments.

A prediction model for the number of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and the corresponding burden on the health care system has been developed. The head of the prediction model on behalf of University of Iceland’s Health Sciences Institute is Dr. Thor Aspelund. The prediction model is conducted by scientists from the University of Iceland, the Directorate of Health, and the National Hospital.

The Department of civil protection and emergency management publishes status report each weekday.

COVID-19 – what is it?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a variety of illnesses in humans and animals. They are a known cause of the common cold; however, some strains of coronavirus can also cause severe pneumonia and even death. Previous epidemics that are known to have been caused by a coronavirus are SARS, which originated China in 2002-2003, and MERS, which struck the Middle East beginning in 2012. SARS and MERS were less contagious than seasonal influenza but caused epidemics in certain areas and put heavy strain on hospitals. The mortality rate (the number of deaths relative to the number of infections) of SARS and MERS was also much higher than the mortality rate of seasonal influenza or COVID-19.

You can access an educational video explaining what COVID-19 is, COVID-19 - what is it?

29 January   Chief Epidemiologist advises againstunnecessary travel to China and recommends that people travelling from Chinauntertaken14 days quarantine.

27 January State of uncertainty declared due to the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Outlook:

A team of scientists from the University of Iceland, the Directorate of Health, the National University Hospital, are working with the Chief Epidemiologist to forecast the spread of the virus to inform the decision making of Icelandic health the decision-making of Icelandic health authorities.
Further information and graphs are available in Icelandic here: www.covid.hi.is
The forecast model will be updated as new data from testing comes in.

Iceland’s unique geographical situation:

Island state
Few points of entry, most international arrivals through Keflavik International Airport
Lowest population density in Europe (1/10th of that of the US, similar to Australia)

Government objectives and actions

On March 6 Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist and the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Managemen declared the highest alert level — an emergency phase— as a result of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. This was done in accordance with the Pandemic National Response Plan.  These measures primarily affect key institutions and companies in Iceland, so that they will take the action necessary to address the genuine threat stemming from COVID-19. All actions taken during an epidemic affect people’s daily lives, but to varying degrees. The authorities are therefore introducing measures that are known to be successful. We focus on evidence-based measures that have a successful track record, such as quarantine at home (self-quarantine), isolation for infected persons, early diagnosis of infection, and effective information disclosure to the public. A ban on gatherings for 100 people or more was imposed and on March 24 a stricter measure was inforced with a ban on gatherings for 20 people or more.

The premise for these actions is that there be a community-wide consensus: that we all agree to follow expert advice and participate together in this endeavor. Infectious diseases affect individuals’ health, but they also affect the well-being of the entire community. Civil protection is in our hands.

Icelandic authorities are taking strict measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the country, according to news from the Government of Iceland. The heaviest focus has been on testing, contact tracing and quarantine of individuals considered to be likely carriers. Furthermore, very strict measures have been in place for several weeks to protect the groups considered most vulnerable from infection as well as measures to minimize the risk of infection at medical establishments.

A prediction model for the number of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and the corresponding burden on the health care system has been developed. The head of the prediction model on behalf of University of Iceland’s Health Sciences Institute is Dr. Thor Aspelund. The prediction model is conducted by scientists from the University of Iceland, the Directorate of Health, and the National Hospital.

The Department of civil protection and emergency management publishes status report each weekday.

COVID-19 – what is it?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a variety of illnesses in humans and animals. They are a known cause of the common cold; however, some strains of coronavirus can also cause severe pneumonia and even death. Previous epidemics that are known to have been caused by a coronavirus are SARS, which originated China in 2002-2003, and MERS, which struck the Middle East beginning in 2012. SARS and MERS were less contagious than seasonal influenza but caused epidemics in certain areas and put heavy strain on hospitals. The mortality rate (the number of deaths relative to the number of infections) of SARS and MERS was also much higher than the mortality rate of seasonal influenza or COVID-19.

You can access an educational video explaining what COVID-19 is, COVID-19 - what is it?

Related content