Tighter domestic COVID-19 restrictions take effect in Iceland at midnight, Health Minister Willum Þór Þórsson and Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir announced following a cabinet meeting this morning. The general gathering limit will be lowered from 20 to 10 people, and bars and clubs will be closed. Events and performances will not be permitted under the new rules – previously up to 200 guests could attend an event provided they presented a negative rapid test. The new rules will remain in force until February 2.
At the press conference, Katrín Jakobsdóttir also announced that the government was preparing response measures to support tourism operators and event organisers. Insurance and tax deadlines for restaurants would also be postponed in order to ease financial strain in the restaurant industry.
Iceland reported 1,113 new domestic cases yesterday and a total of 9,671 active cases. Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has stated that daily case number must be reduced to 500 in order to protect the healthcare system. There are currently 43 patients in hospital due to COVID-19, eight of whom are in intensive care. Some 140 hospital staff are in isolation due to COVID-19 infection. While Omicron has become the dominant variant in Iceland, the Delta variant continues to cause cases of serious illness, causing additional strain on the National University Hospital’s COVID-19 ward.
Swimming pools and gyms may continue to operate at 50% capacity as before. Regulations for schools and after-school centres will remain unchanged, although the Health Minister stated that authorities would monitor the situation daily and respond to changes as necessary.