Nursing homes react to coronavirus outbreak

29.07.2020 - 14:04
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[UPDATED] The number of guests allowed to visit nursing homes is once again being restricted and visitors are asked to avoid common areas after the Directorate of Health called on nursing homes yesterday to re-examine visiting rules as the number of COVID-19 cases in Iceland continues to rise.

The changes came into effect today and will be re-evaluated as needed.  

Only one person may now visit each resident at Hrafnista-run nursing homes and no more than two at Ás and Grund homes. All visitors are asked to proceed straight to their loved-one's room and not dwell in communal areas. 

People are also asked not to visit nursing homes if they have any flu symptoms or have been overseas within the past 14 days. 

A working group of civil protection experts, including representatives of the health minister, chief epidemiologist, and director of health met this morning. They sent a memo of recommendations to Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister for Health, early this afternoon.  

It is not yet known what recommendations were made, or whether or when the minister will implement them. It is being speculated, however, that the advice could include making the two-metre rule compulsory again, reducing the 500-person assembly limit, and/or re-classifying one or more of the current six ‘safe countries’ from which people are allowed to enter Iceland without testing or quarantine. 

UPDATE (Thursday morning): The article above incorrectly states that the experts' memo was passed to the Minister of Health in the early afternoon. It was in fact sent on Wednesday evening and is being discussed at a government cabinet meeting at 09.00 this morning. The government's decisions are expected to be made public around midday on Thursday. RÚV English will provide coverage.

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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