Much stricter COVID controls from midnight

24.03.2021 - 15:53
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Guðmundur Bergkvist - RUV
The assembly limit in Iceland will return to ten people from midnight and many non-essential services will close their doors again. The restrictions will stay in place for three weeks. Government ministers said when announcing the changes that Iceland will resume use of the AstraZeneca vaccine and approve its use for the over-70s, meaning this will hopefully be the final such lock-down. Experience from last autumn shows reacting hard and fast is more effective than a gentler approach.

The assembly limit of ten people applies to everyone born in 2015 or before.

Schools, colleges, and universities will close. Pre-schools will remain open. 

Religious gatherings are limited to 30 people. 

Cinemas, bars, sports clubs, gyms, casinos, theatres, and nightclubs will all close. Hair salons will remain open. 

Restaurants will close at 22.00, with last entry at 21.00. 

On a positive note, health minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir said all healthcare workers and people over 70 will be offered vaccination within the next two weeks, as Iceland is to re-commence use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said one of the lessons learnt from last autumn is the importance of taking swift and decisive action. The extra time taken to think, and the gradual imposition of restrictions then led to a wave of infection that lasted through much of the winter. She hopes this outbreak will be much shorter-lived.

Iceland is still working towards the vaccination goal of herd immunity by the end of July. 

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