Athugið þessi frétt er meira en 4 mánaða gömul.

Covid restrictions to ease at midnight

28.01.2022 - 12:26
Mynd: Haukur Holm / Haukur Holm
Among the changes announced at the government press conference late this morning is that the assembly limit will raise from ten to 50 people. The press conference was led by the prime minister, the health minister, and the finance minister. The ‘troika’ of civil protection heads were also on hand to answer reporters’ questions. Here are the highlights of the press conference, as it happened:
  • Prime minister Katrín Jakbosdóttir opened the press conference, saying “We bring you good news today”. She said real changes are happening in the fight against the virus. The virus itself has changed, and Iceland has seen good results from vaccination. She said changes to quarantine rules earlier this week were a landmark moment, when we moved from a regular tempo to starting to open society again. The pandemic can always change, but scientists are optimistic at this time that life can start returning to normal. 
  • All restrictions will be removed in three stages over the coming six-to-eight weeks, if the situation allows. 
  • Health minister Willum Þór Þórsson announced the first set of changes that will come into effect at midnight: 

The general assembly limit will be 50 rather than the current ten. 

The one-metre rule will again replace the two-metre rule. 

Bars and clubs that do not sell food will be allowed to open again. 

All licenced premises will see their allowed opening times extend by two hours. Patrons must enter no later than 23.00 and have left no later than midnight. 

Events for up to 500 people will be allowed if certain conditions are met. 

Pools, gyms, and ski areas will be able to open at 75 percent capacity rather than the current 50. 

  • The changes are in accordance with the chief epidemiologist’s recommendations, apart from that he wanted opening hours to extend by one hour instead of two, and for the rules to change next week rather than tomorrow.
  • Willum said that though he is relatively new to the role of health minister, he has received a great many memos from Þórólfur Guðnason, and the latest was the most optimistic things he has seen. 
  • Katrín said that all remaining restrictions will be removed before the middle of March, if all goes to plan. "We have had countless conversations with many experts and the ‘troika’ and it is very encouraging to hear different experts assess the status of the pandemic and to feel their optimism." 
  • According to Willum, all options were on the table, including removing all restrictions at once, but Iceland has followed scientific advice throughout the pandemic and the advice was not to do so; even though some other countries are.
  • It is, though, possible restrictions could be removed sooner than March if conditions allow. Willum says the process will be as fast as possible, whilst also maintaining balance. 

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