Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist will send the Minister of Health a list of additional restrictions for the Reykjavík capital area intended to slow the spread of the third wave of COVID-19. The two-metre rule will be reinstated in the capital area, and most of the previously granted exceptions to the gathering cap of 20 people will be rescinded. Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason says the local pandemic appears to be growing exponentially.
Iceland reported 99 new domestic cases of COVID-19 yesterday, the highest number since the third wave began around September 15. Harsher COVID-19 restrictions took effect across Iceland yesterday, and authorities proposed still tighter regulations for the capital area at a briefing today.
At the briefing, Chief Superintendent Víðir Reynisson reviewed newly-issued recommendations from the National Police Commissioner to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. They include limiting travel, cancelling events and group meetings, and staying home as much as possible.
Two-Metre Rule Reinstated in Capital Area
The Chief Epidemiologist will recommend that the two-metre rule is reinstated in the capital area. (It was replaced by a one-metre rule on September 7.) In addition, he proposes ordering restaurants to close at 9.00pm rather than 11.00pm, as is currently permitted.
Þórólfur suggests there be only two exceptions granted to the 20-person gathering limit that took effect yesterday: for funerals, which could have up to 50 in attendance, and schools, which could have up to 30 students in a classroom. He also suggests postponing all competitive sports events for two weeks. Mask use will be mandated in more locations.
It will take one to two weeks to see the effects of tighter restrictions, according to Þórólfur. Until then, the daily case number is expected to remain high. The Minister of Health makes the final call on whether and when the proposed measures are instituted.