COVID-19 in Iceland: No COVID Patients In ICU As Fourth Wave Continues To Subside

Emergency room

As the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections continues to subside, yesterday was the first time since late July there were no COVID-19 patients in the ICU. 10 people are hospitalised and 829 are currently in isolation due to a COVID-19 infection.

Read more: What’s the Status of COVID-19 in Iceland

Today, 10 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Iceland, three of which are unvaccinated. Their average age is 65. No patient is in the ICU. 95 patients have been hospitalised during the fourth wave of the pandemic, a third of whom were unvaccinated. 16 have ended up in the ICU since the fourth wave began. Three have died with COVID-19 in the fourth wave, at least two of which were tourists visiting Iceland, one vaccinated in his seventies and the other unvaccinated in his sixties. At the moment, there are 829 patients, including 245 children in the hospital’s outpatient centre. One is marked as red, meaning there’s acute danger of them needing hospitalisation and 20 are marked yellow, meaning they require additional surveillance. The National University Hospital is operating according to a state of danger, the second of the three emergency stages of the hospital. The definition of a state of danger for the hospital is: An event calls for the hospital to operate according to emergency procedures. The number of patients makes for increased strain on various wards.

Iceland Airwaves Postponed Until 2022

Iceland Airwaves Gyða Valtýsdóttir

The Iceland Airwaves music festival has been postponed until 2022 due to ongoing social restrictions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival will take place November 2-5 2022.

Since the Delta variant reaches Iceland, social restrictions limiting gatherings of more than a couple of hundred people have been in place. According to a press release from Sena Live, which operates the festival, these restrictions make festivals such as Iceland Airwaves

“Everything concerning rapid tests and festival guest’s access to them is still unclear. Other events (standing room and without rapid tests) continue to be limited to 200 people or fewer in each compartment.

Read More: What’s the Status Of COVID-19 In Iceland?

The most recent relaxations of the social restrictions due to the pandemic allow for 500 people to gather but they must remain in numbered seats, can’t face each other and have to wear masks until they sit down. Additionally, they must be able to present the results of a rapid test taken no less than 48 hours before the start of the event.

“raising the gathering limits to 500 people in numbered seats on the condition of rapid tests is a step in the right directions,” the notice reads, “but these limitations are still too restrictive to larger, standing events, and make it impossible to host events such as the Iceland Airwaves.”

The notice states that ticketholders who want to attend Iceland Airwaves next year won’t need to take any action, their tickets will still be valid. Those who wish to be refunded can contact TIX by Friday, September 17.

“We encourage ticket holders to keep their tickets. This postponement doesn’t only affect Iceland Airwaves but all of Iceland’s music industry. By keeping your ticket, you support Icelandic music, which is hurting these days, the notice reads.

Sena CEO Ísleifur Þórhallsson told Vísir he considered this a tragedy for Iceland’s music industry and placed the blame squarely on authorities lack of will to

The last Iceland Airwaves festival took place in 2019 as the 2020 festival was also postponed. The 2020 festival was replaced with Live From Reykjavík – a two-night online music festival celebrating Icelandic artists.

Icelandic Football Requests Space To Enact Improvements

As preparation continues for the Icelandic national men’s football team’s three upcoming qualifying matches for the World cup, the Icelandic Football Association’s CEO Klara Bjartmarz is on temporary leave in addition to resignations from the association’s director and the entire board. The association has been accused of sweeping allegations of violence and sexual assault perpetrated by members of the national team under the rug but now requests space to follow through on an action plan against sexual assault and violence.

Read More: Icelandic Football Shaken By Allegations of Sexual Assault

Read More: Icelandic Football Association Board Resigns As More Allegations Of Sexual Assault Come To Light

Ask for space to follow through on action plan

Following continued pressure to resign along with the former director and board of the Icelandic Football Association, CEO Klara Bjartmarz is now on leave for an indefinite period, Vísir reports. One of the Association’s deputy directors told Vísir that if the entire board resigned, FIFA might consider the Association incapacitated and take over under emergency protocols. That has occurred twice before, in Bosnia during times of war, and in Greece during the economic crisis.

A joint statement from The National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland, Íslenskur Toppfótbolti, and the Icelandic Football Association asked that Icelandic football be given room to follow through on the work they’re preparing to combat the issues raised in the past few weeks. The plan includes electing a new temporary board and organising a workgroup that will work on creating and reviewing the necessary work procedures to ensure the right reactions to reports of sensitive matters. The workgroup will cooperate with the communications advisor of sports and youth issues. According to the statement, the reviewed work procedures will be implemented into all associated institutions of the National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland, making the association as a whole more prepared to handle such issues professionally. They note that while Icelandic football’s reputation has been damaged, it also has the strength, ability, opportunity and powerful members to improve and meet the challenges together.

The workgroup on sexual assault and violence within Icelandic football led by Kolbrún Hrund Sigurgeirsdóttir intends to work hard and professionally. Kolbrún stated to Fréttablaðið that the group will inspect the culture down to the youngest players. Hanna Björg Vilhjálmsdóttir who wrote an article challenging the Association to deal with allegations of violence has been offered a position in the group, as well as Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir, Stígamót representative. Other members are yet to be announced but Kolbrún has said that the group will likely include a lawyer as well as someone from the Association. Kolbrún added that she had received several phone calls from staff and managers of football clubs over rumours of players within their ranks who might have committed violence. The staff don’t have confirmation that the rumours are true and they don’t know how to react in such a situation. “It’s a tough job and this won’t be accomplished in one day. It’s clear that we need to cover everything down to the youngest kids in football to change certain attitudes and to create a better atmosphere of safety and equality,” Kolbrún stated. She told Vísir that their role is to “figure out how we can make sure that there’s followthrough on such reports, and ensure that such cases won’t be let slide or solved in secrecy. We need to make sure that all reports receive a reaction.

Prime minister, feminists, and fan club weigh in

Icelandic football has a prime opportunity to change the toxic masculinity that has been allowed to fester, stated football fan and Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdótti, according to Vísir. “I think Icelandic football has the opportunity to handle this in a new way and make some radical changes. It’s important and I say this as the mother of a junior football player, not just as prime minister,” she stated.

Þorsteinn V. Einarsson hosts a podcast on masculinity and played football in the past. He has pointed out that the issue is so deep-rooted that footballers might not know how to react. “I really think that footballers don’t know what to say, how to react or what they can do. The fear of losing social standing, respect and power in the locker room breeds a certain kind of powerlessness,” he told Vísir “being a feminist isn’t the most popular thing to do in football, or to interfere with equality issues or taking a stand on uncomfortable subjects.” Þorsteinn added that players might fear repercussions from “old-school” coaches or teammates when returning to practice after speaking out on sensitive topics. “to state the obvious, not all football players are jackasses. But they can all take responsibility for the change that’s necessary.”

Tólfan, the national teams’ fan support group has issued a statement condemning all violence. They declare their support for victims of violence and will be showing it symbolically during the upcoming matches, staying silent until minute 12 of every match. The group also encourages its members to wear hats and insignia supporting women against violence such as the UN Women fuck violence campaign.

Their statement notes that their key phrase has always been “don’t be a jackass,” and that violence is jackassery in its every form.

Kolbeinn denies accusations of violence

Kolbeinn Sigþórsson is one of the players removed from the national team following the past weeks’ events. He plays for Sweden’s IFK Göteborg. While he wasn’t named by the victim who came forward following KSÍ’s original denial of reports of violence, Kolbeinn has stated the matter. While admitting that he “behaved less than perfectly,” and apologising for his behaviour, he denied harassing or assaulting them.  “I repented and took responsibility and was ready to make amends. They had requests for an apology and payments which I agreed to. Additionally, I donated 3 million ISK to Stígamót [a centre for survivors of sexual violence] and in that way supported their important fight against sexual violence,” Kolbeinn stated. “The Icelandic Football Association was informed of the settlement process but their public denial of violence led to Þórhildur Gyða feeling robbed of that settlement. I have an understanding of that. I regret my behaviour at that time and am fiercely against the violence of any kind. I am still systematically working on my issues.”

Þórhildur was surprised by his statement, stating that she had not named him as she didn’t want to pull focus from what she believes is the main issue, the culture within the football association. She told Vísir that following her interview, she has been contacted by others telling her stories of sexual assault or violence by six or seven former or current members of the men’s national team.

Kolbeinn’s Swedish team has issued a statement condemning his behaviour but recently stated that they will not be terminating his contract, Vísir reports. Kolbeinn joined Göteborg’s team from AIK, whose manager now states that the Icelandic Football Association kept information from them when signing Kolbeinn. Henrik Juerlius told Aftonbladet that they contacted the Icelandic national team and Kolbeinn’s former clubs to find out if there was anything in his past that they needed to know about but received no such information. Kolbeinn signed with AIK in March 2019, two years after the Icelandic Football Association was notified of the incident.

Upcoming matches “a challenge”

At a press briefing for the upcoming national team match against Romania, veteran team member Kári Árnason states that it’s tough to enter a project by the national team under the current circumstances. “it’s a sensitive issue and what can I say? I can’t really touch the subject without throwing someone in front of a train, whoever it is, and I think it’s best that I don’t.” Iceland is playing Romania tonight in Laugardalsvöllur, followed by matches against North Macedonia, and Germany. The team’s coach Arnar Þór Viðarsson has stated that it’s hard to prepare for a match under the circumstances but they’re doing their very best to stay focused on the game.

Kári added that the upcoming project is tough and feels for young players entering the group under these circumstances. “It’s different this time and the focus outwards hasn’t really been on the football but that’s everything we’re focusing on. I don’t envy them entering into these discussions. It’s so sensitive that it’s hard to focus on something else but we’ll try to keep their minds on the project at hand. It’s not the most fun position to be in to enter the national team when people aren’t talking about young and exciting players but something totally different. They’ll just have to show what they got on the field and hopefully, they’ll start talking about them,” Kári stated.

The Iceland-Romania match tonight is sold out but tickets for the Iceland-North Macedonia match on Sunday are still available.