People urged to stay alert during festive period

19.11.2020 - 14:17
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 Mynd: Almannavarnir
Chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason says that while the current wave of COVID-19 infection in Iceland is receding quickly, it is still necessary to remove restrictions slowly. He worries people will forget themselves in December, during Christmas social events.

Head of the Directorate of Health Alma Möller says the agency is considering issuing a special set of guidelines for festive gatherings in private homes and how to keep contagion risk to a minimum, she said at today’s regular press briefing.

Only four new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed domestically yesterday, with two already in quarantine. Iceland’s 14-day infection rate per 100,000 people is now the lowest in Europe. Þórólfur warns against complacency, however: “This succeeds or fails based on how people employ individual contagion prevention measures.” 

Þórólfur says that the longer and more widespread third wave of infection this autumn has been driven by group gatherings among families, friends, and sports clubs. For this reason, he worries about people relaxing too much when meeting friends and family over the festive period. 

Christmas celebrations this year are dependent on how the pandemic behaves during all of December and people should therefore remain cautious when it comes to gatherings, he says. “Inviting grandma for Christmas goes without saying, but for that people must also pay close attention to instructions, hand washing, and the rest we’ve been preaching about. Don’t go out in groups if you have even the tiniest symptoms.” 

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager