The Government has announced a ban on gatherings of 100 people or more, starting Monday 16 March. Universities and upper secondary schools will close for four weeks and special conditions will apply to elementary schools and preschools.
Following recommendations from the Chief Epidemiologist, Svandís Svavarsdóttir Icelands‘s Minister of Health, has decided to implement measures set out in the legislation on epidemics for a ban on public events and gatherings. The ban will be in effect for four weeks, starting on March 16, 2020. The ban refers to gatherings of 100 people or more. Simultaneously the Minister announced, that universities and upper secondary schools will be closed for 4 weeks. Elementary schools and preschools will remain open, as long as they fulfill specific conditions.
“The goal of the measures is to slow down the transmission of the Covid-19 so that health services are able to withstand the strain that it causes,” says Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister of Health. This is an extremely important measure that needed to be put in place at the right time, based on the advice of our top scientists, so that we continue to stay ahead of the curve.”
The ban does not apply to international airports or ports. There, preventive measures will be further strengthened with to the aim of reducing the risk of infection.
The advice of the Chief Epidemiologist to the Minister of Health has been to focus the response in Iceland on the swift diagnosis of COVID-19 cases. This includes isolation for those who have been infected and quarantine for those considered at risk of infection. These measures seem to have reduced the rate of infection considerably.
Targeted measures have been taken to reduce the rate of infection and active communication with the public, institutions and businesses has reinforced those actions. Special consideration will continue to be given to the protection of vulnerable groups.
A ban on public gathering and events is taken to reinforce the measures already taken to reduce the rate of infection of COVID-19 and maintain the capacity of the health system during the epidemic.