COVID-19: No new cases for the first time
No new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus were diagnosed in Iceland yesterday. It was the first day without new cases since the virus was first confirmed in Iceland at the end of February. There are 237 active cases of COVID-19 in Iceland at the moment, which is 13 percent of the total number of confirmed cases to date.
- The first case in Iceland was confirmed on 28th February and no cases were diagnosed on 29th February. There have been new cases every day between 1st March and 22nd April, with the highest number in one day recorded on 24th March: 103 new cases.
- State police civil protection chief Víður Reynisson says that despite the epidemic trailing off faster than forecast in Iceland, there is no justification for speeding up the relaxation of the assembly ban and other emergency measures. Experience in Bolungarvík shows how far and how quickly a small outbreak can spread and Iceland must do all it can to avoid a major second wave coronavirus outbreak. If actions provide better than expected results, it is no reason to stop taking those actions, he reasons.
- The nation’s mental well-being during the pandemic is under the spotlight in a new study being carried out by the University of Iceland, the Directorate of Health and the Chief Epidemiologist’s office. The project is part of a wider international study and everybody is welcome to take part (in Icelandic or English) by visiting lidanicovid.is. A professor at the University of Iceland medial school says it is important for as many people as possible to take part.
- Iceland’s fuel stations are pumping 68 percent less petrol and diesel each day this April than the average for April last year, it has been confirmed. Record low oil prices are seeing prices drop, though not as fast as in some other countries, as the high level of tax and the current weak exchange rate of the Icelandic króna have held prices higher.
- Icelandair has signed a deal with DB Schenker to fly medical supplies between Shanghai and Munich, as well as from Shanghai to Chicago, with stops in Iceland. The flights will run daily, starting from tomorrow.
- A bill put to Alþingi by members of three of the five opposition parties is calling for ministers and parliamentarians to take a pay cut from the start of next month. The bill calls on members of Alþingi to set a good example as Iceland embarks on its journey through one of the worst ever international economic crises.
- Government plans to allow travel agencies to reimburse customers with credit notes instead of money has been criticised by consumer groups, and is probably a breach of the national constitution, according to one Supreme Court lawyer. The government hopes the provision would act as a buffer to travel agencies struggling while holidays are being cancelled and new bookings are almost non-existent.
- The captain and crew of the Herjólfur ferry sailed a route in the shape of a heart yesterday as a message of thanks to frontline healthcare workers in Iceland. The gesture follows a similar heart shape that was flown by Icelandair pilots over the capital city last weekend. Herjólfur serves Vestmannaeyjar (the Westman Islands); a community that was hit by a more severe coronavirus outbreak than most others in Iceland.