“Lockdown was never really imposed here”: Iceland’s response to Covid-19
Written by Eliska Kacerova on 19 mai 2020
Iceland – the Nordic nation we rarely speak of. But the coronavirus pandemic has got us wondering what’s happening over in those colder climes. Iceland has a population of almost 365,000 people, but only ten of its citizens are currently infected with coronavirus, and no other cases have been confirmed for several days. With a testing rate of 15%, 1,802 Icelanders have so far been diagnosed with the disease, ten of whom have died.
Ólöf Ragnarsdóttir, reporter at RÚV, the icelandic national broadcasting service, is with us today to give us a sense of how the island has managed the pandemic.
“So, quarantine, testing and tracing, these measures were in place in Iceland even before the first case was diagnosed here. Lockdown was never really imposed here, we were always able to go out as we liked. Also kindergartens and primary schools have remained opened this entire time, with restrictions of course. The government has announced that from June 15th tourists and residents will be allowed to come to Iceland again. They will be able to come to Iceland without having to quarantine for two weeks, but they will be tested at the Reykjavík Airport or they have to present that they recently were tested negative. Also they will be required to download and use the contact tracing app.”
Many countries in Europe are currently considering the gradual re-opening of their borders. In fact of 26 countries in Schengen Area, which Iceland has a part of since 2001, 16 have reported the total or partial reinstatement of border controls to Brussels. On May 13th the European commission presented their guidelines for the gradual lifting of travel restrictions, amongst other recommended strategies to reboot European tourism, an extremely important economic sector.