No change to COVID rules this week

04.05.2021 - 11:50
Svandís Svavarsdóttir
 Mynd: RÚV - Skjáskot
Health minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir has decided to extend existing COVID-19 prevention rules within Iceland by one week. Svandís said after this morning’s government cabinet meeting that she expects to announce “real” changes next week, and hopefully “extensive” changes.

Chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason submitted his recommendations to the minister on Sunday and, as has become customary, the health minister brought the recommendations and her own interpretation of them to the cabinet meeting this morning, where they were discussed and approved. The rules issued have usually been very close, if not identical, to those proposed by Þórólfur. 

Svandís told reporters after the cabinet meeting that the memo she received on Sunday recommended achieving more stability before relaxing rules, as the recent group outbreak that now appears to be under control was still growing as little as a week ago. Þórólfur recommended keeping things as they are for a further one or two weeks. 

Svandís said this morning that she expects to announce wide-ranging and significant relaxation of the current rules next week. The government aims to stick to its proposed timetable for easing controls—largely because vaccination is going well and close to 40 percent of the nation will have received at least one dose by the end of the week. 

She also noted that current border procedures seem to be working well at keeping new infection out of the country, and the previous group outbreaks are being brought quickly under control. “The goal is to stick to this timetable,” she said. 

The current rules, including a general assembly limit of 20 people and 50 percent capacity at gyms and swimming pools, were due to expire at the end of tomorrow but will now run until the end of next Wednesday instead. 

Six people tested positive for COVID-19 within Iceland yesterday, including one who was not already in quarantine. Two tested positive in border testing. 

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