No relaxed assembly ban next week

28.07.2020 - 11:39
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[UPDATED] The government decided at its cabinet meeting this morning that plans to increase the assembly limit to 1,000 people and allow licensed premises to stay open until midnight instead of 23.00 each night will be delayed by two weeks, and will now happen on 18th August instead of the 4th. Civil protection chiefs will hold a press conference this afternoon to discuss the group outbreak that saw seven new infections in Iceland over the weekend and yesterday.

The government decision today is confirmation of a proposal sent from epidemiologists yesterday to the health minister. The change means the existing 500-person assembly limit and 23.00 closing time will remain in force for now. 

There are currently 22 active COVID-19 cases in Iceland, including 12 domestic infections. Contact tracing has been underway for several days and yesterday revealed that several of the infections have a common, unknown source within Iceland. It is believed the newly-discovered strain arrived in Iceland recently and has not been running undetected since the spring. 

As reported yesterday, many of the domestic cases are related to one resident who arrived back to Iceland on 15th July and was mistakenly not invited for a second test. One extra case confirmed yesterday means that seven of the country’s active cases are attributable to the man. All seven people work for the same company in Akranes. 

In separate coronavirus news, Icelandic authorities have this morning joined Germany, Norway, and the UK in advising residents against unnecessary travel to Spain for the time being.  

UPDATE (11.55): Final figures for yesterday just released show three new cases diagnosed in total. There are 24 people in isolation with COVID-19 in Iceland and 173 in quarantine. Nobody is in hospital. Health minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir told RÚV this morning that the authorities are naturally concerned and that government ministers voted unanimously to extend existing restrictions by a further two weeks.

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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