COVID-19 emergency once more

12.01.2022 - 10:34
Mynd: RÚV - Eggert Þór Jónsson / RÚV
Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir, state police chief, has put the civil protection alert level back up to ‘emergency’ for the fourth time since the pandemic began—most recently from March to May last year. Both then and now, Landspítali national university hospital had already declared its own emergency alert.

A memo from Sigríður Björk and police civil protection chief Víðir Reynisson says there is a very high level of uncertainty connected to the pandemic at the moment. Even the most optimistic predictions anticipate that a lot more people will be admitted to hospital, and also to intensive care “and it is clear Landspítali will not cope with such pressure unaided.”

The memo states that dozens of extra specialist staff will be needed to ensure minimal acceptable staffing levels. The possibility of sourcing help from the other Nordic countries is being assessed, though that seems unlikely, and the same is true of the pan-European civil protection agency, as most countries are in the same situation right now. “The ability of the health system to deal with the current situation is worsening and, as a result, the ability to tackle another civil protection situation is severely impeded.” 

Earlier yesterday, health minister Willum Þór Þórrsom extended the current anti-contagion restrictions by a further three weeks, but specifically said that he will implement tougher rules if necessary. 

The decision to declare a civil protection emergency level was taken with the chief epidemiologist and means that companies and agencies activate their contingency plans for the provision of uninterrupted service. 

The change has no direct impact on the public. 

A press release from the state police says that while the situation is hard and getting harder by the day, brighter times lie ahead “and without doubt the light at the end of the tunnel”. It adds that it is the opinion of the chief epidemiologist and civil protection agency that if society works together by slowing down and minimising mixing when possible, this will be a temporary crisis. The press release expresses optimism for fewer restrictions as the sun starts getting higher in the sky. 

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