Groups of up to 2,000 will be permitted to gather as of July 13 in Iceland, a significant jump from the current limit of 500. Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason revealed the information at a public briefing in Reykjavík today. Authorities will also consider allowing bars and nightclubs to remain open past 11.00pm, a condition that was put in place when they were reopened on May 25.
Of the 10,000 travellers who have been screened for COVID-19 upon entering the country, only 13 have tested positive, and only two with active infections. Despite the low ratio, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated it was too early to stop screening passengers from some or all regions, suggesting general screening should continue at least until the end of July.
Þórólfur stated it was impossible to say if border screening had identified all active cases entering the country, and encouraged the public to continue practising thorough hand washing and social distancing. He also encouraged health clinics to continue testing broadly in order to keep tabs on the spread of the virus within Icelandic society.
Iceland’s borders are presently only open to Schengen Area countries, but that may change on July 1. Þórólfur was asked whether he liked the idea of direct flights from the United States, which he answered in the negative, adding that most nations were concerned about direct flights from the United States. The US has seen over 2.3 million COVID-19 cases and 120,000 deaths from the disease, both global records.