Record Number of Students Enrolled at the University of Iceland

Háskóli Íslands University of Iceland

Just under 15,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Iceland. This is a record number of students enrolled in the University, and the number of students enrolled in the university is almost 15 % higher than at the same time last year.

The University releases statistics over the number of students Every year at the end of October, once the deadline to drop out of courses has passed. The school had already received a record number of applications last spring, due in part to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In total, 14,992 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate studies at the university, compared to 13,092 last year. The economic effects of the banking collapse in 20018 also drove up enrolment numbers. However, this autumn has still seen over a thousand more students than the highest previous numbers in the years following the banking collapse. The school now has around 9,400 undergraduate students, 4,400 of which began their studies this autumn. That number also breaks previous records. There are 5,600 graduate students, 600 of whom are doctorate students.

“It’s good to know that there’s such an interest in the studies available at the University,” Rector of the University of Iceland Jón Atli Benediktsson has stated. “Such growth is challenging, but we trust in the government’s increased support to be able to support our staff and students the best we can.”

The student count is likely to grow even further as the University has already received twice the number of applications for graduate studies as they had the same time last year.

Police Officer Suspended After Reports on Violent Arrest

A body camera attached to a police vest.

The District Public Prosecutor will investigate a case of an allegedly violent arrest in Hafnarfjörður last Monday. Three witnesses who would like to remain nameless told Fréttablaðið that four police officers who arrested a man by Hvaleyrarholt in Hafnarfjörður used excessive force in their operations.

The Hafnarfjörður police Station manager confirmed that a struggle had occurred between the police and a man who they detained on suspicion of being in possession of drugs. The man claimed he had COVID-19, so the police called for a specially outfitted COVID-19 police car to prevent infection. According to Fréttablaðið’s sources, the struggle took place while the group waited for the car to arrive. They claimed that during the struggle, one of the police officers used pepper spray and that another hit the man repeatedly in the head with a baton until after he had lost consciousness and fallen to the ground, bleeding.

“I understand that the police need to defend themselves during a struggle, but not continuing to hit the man once he’s down,” one of the witnesses told Fréttablaðið. According to regulation on police officers using force, blows cannot be directed at someone’s head. A baton should be used with caution so that no more injuries should occur than necessary.

The Capital Area Police has stated that body camera recordings are among the evidence for the investigation but that as the case is under investigation, the police cannot comment further on the incident.

Update: The Capital Area Police issued a statement concerning the case at 12.30 pm. One police officer will be temporarily removed from his duties because of the Hafnarfjörður arrest. The headline of the article has been changed to reflect the update.


Icelandic Minks Tested for Coronavirus Infections

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority will test for the coronavirus in mink farms in Iceland in light of infections from a mutated strain of the virus passing from minks to people in Denmark. There is currently no suspicion of coronavirus infection in Icelandic mink farms.

The Authority has sent notices to mink farmers of increased infection prevention measures and urged them to adhere to them as strictly as possible. They asked to be notified of even the smallest suspicion of illness on farms, especially if the infected person had been in contact with the animals. They had received no such notifications but state that the flow of information between them and the farmers was good. If an infection arises, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority will decide the next steps in conversation with healthcare authorities.

Denmark’s Prime Minister revealed yesterday that all minks in Denmark, 17 million, would be killed and disposed of as soon as possible because a mutated strain of the coronavirus had been passed from the minks to people. The Prime Minister called the situation immensely serious and that the mutation could prove a hindrance to COVID-19 vaccines as the mutated virus is impervious to the vaccines currently in development.

The chance of infection in Iceland’s wild mink stock is low as contact with humans is minimal. Iceland currently has nine mink farms in Northwest Iceland and on the south coast with around 15,000 breeding females.