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Iceland‘s response to Covid 19

Our May 2020 status update

22. maí 2020

Iceland‘s response to Covid 19

Our May 2020 status update

22. maí 2020

COVID-19 in Iceland

Icelanders, like most of the world, have faced an unprecedented challenge with a pandemic that has grinded the travel industry to a halt, an industry that drives a huge part of Iceland’s economy. The travel restrictions caused by the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 now seem laughable compared to what COVID-19 has caused and the financial ramifications are epic.
Despite the economic blow, Iceland’s main concern was of course the population’s common health and protecting our most vulnerable groups.

So, how did we do?

Numbers and dates

February 28th 2020 saw the first positive case of COVID 19 in Iceland and in the days that followed more and more Icelanders returning home from holidays abroad tested positive.
The number of positive cases peaked on April 5th with a total of 1,096 active cases. The curve has been downhill since then, in the best possible way. On May 20th 2020 a total of 3 individuals were considered COVID 19 positive with 1,789 cured. Sadly, 10 have died from the disease, which is a big loss for a nation of just 365,000. The numbers and that notorious curve however, can only be considered a success in Iceland.

So, to what do we owe this success?

Iceland’s response

In Iceland the pandemic has been tackled primarily by three institutions; The Directorate of Health, The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and the Chief Epidemiologist. The political authorities in Iceland took a strong stance to let the scientists and experts lead the way. And so, every day for over two months, Icelanders watched press briefings of the heads of these institutions (commonly referred to as The Trio) give updates, lay down the rules and answer questions. Part of Iceland’s success can be linked to a special police force that was assembled to trace infections and quarantine people. Their results were incredible with only a handful of positive cases coming from unknown sources. A two-week quarantine at home for anyone who came into contact with a COVID-positive individual meant that the spread of the disease could slow down enough to ensure our medical services could handle the load. The hospitals, clinics and private genetics company Decode tested over 15% of the nation in just over 2 months. The National Hospital’s ICU floors were split up into COVID and non-COVID locations, a special clinic was created to observe and follow up with patients and a sort of rearguard was established with former ICU nurses and first responders to share the load.

So, how does the population feel about it?

Icelanders at their best

If there’s one thing Icelanders truly excel at, it’s dealing with disasters. And the nation seems to have managed to tackle this pandemic much like they would any other natural disaster, by uniting and conforming for the greater good. People wear gloves to the supermarket, use hand sanitizer religiously, respect social distancing and work from home. Choirs sing outside retirement homes that have been closed for visitors, joggers go out of their way to remain sufficiently apart at all times and shoppers line up military style in front of boutiques. Cabin fevered urbanites even stayed home over Easter to minimize any strain on emergency services due to increased traffic. Yet restrictions have been minimal. The most difficult one probably being retirement homes and hospitals being cut off from visitors and the closing of public pools, the Icelandic equivalent to the English pub. In a nation this tiny, everybody knows somebody who could be dramatically affected by this disease.

So, what is the current situation?

Current situation (May 2020)

Pools have now reopened and retirement homes can receive pre-booked visitors. Schools and preschools are back to their normal schedules and hairdressers and other personal services are allowed. Gatherings of more than 50 people are still not permitted and social distancing of at least 2 meters is still in effect. June 1st will lift more restrictions but at the moment we’re all looking to June 15th, when Iceland’s borders reopen with testing options to avoid quarantine upon entering the country.

Iceland’s approach to the pandemic has been very successful and while we’re all grateful to our medical professionals and authorities, we should acknowledge the united front of the common population and the huge part this attitude has played. In the end, we’re all in this together.

COVID-19 in Iceland - Statistics

Blogg

Fáðu innblástur! Upplýsingar og góð ráð, áhugaverðir áfangastaðir, skemmtilegar staðreyndar og margt fleira. Bloggið okkar er á ensku en það er stórskemmtilegt engu að síður!

Fimm góðar ástæður til að taka Flugrútuna

Although it may not seem like it, you have in fact landed in civilisation and airport transfer in Iceland is readily available.

Lesa blogg

Iceland‘s response to Covid 19

Our May 2020 status update

22. maí 2020

Iceland‘s response to Covid 19

Our May 2020 status update

22. maí 2020

COVID-19 in Iceland

Icelanders, like most of the world, have faced an unprecedented challenge with a pandemic that has grinded the travel industry to a halt, an industry that drives a huge part of Iceland’s economy. The travel restrictions caused by the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 now seem laughable compared to what COVID-19 has caused and the financial ramifications are epic.
Despite the economic blow, Iceland’s main concern was of course the population’s common health and protecting our most vulnerable groups.

So, how did we do?

Numbers and dates

February 28th 2020 saw the first positive case of COVID 19 in Iceland and in the days that followed more and more Icelanders returning home from holidays abroad tested positive.
The number of positive cases peaked on April 5th with a total of 1,096 active cases. The curve has been downhill since then, in the best possible way. On May 20th 2020 a total of 3 individuals were considered COVID 19 positive with 1,789 cured. Sadly, 10 have died from the disease, which is a big loss for a nation of just 365,000. The numbers and that notorious curve however, can only be considered a success in Iceland.

So, to what do we owe this success?

Iceland’s response

In Iceland the pandemic has been tackled primarily by three institutions; The Directorate of Health, The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and the Chief Epidemiologist. The political authorities in Iceland took a strong stance to let the scientists and experts lead the way. And so, every day for over two months, Icelanders watched press briefings of the heads of these institutions (commonly referred to as The Trio) give updates, lay down the rules and answer questions. Part of Iceland’s success can be linked to a special police force that was assembled to trace infections and quarantine people. Their results were incredible with only a handful of positive cases coming from unknown sources. A two-week quarantine at home for anyone who came into contact with a COVID-positive individual meant that the spread of the disease could slow down enough to ensure our medical services could handle the load. The hospitals, clinics and private genetics company Decode tested over 15% of the nation in just over 2 months. The National Hospital’s ICU floors were split up into COVID and non-COVID locations, a special clinic was created to observe and follow up with patients and a sort of rearguard was established with former ICU nurses and first responders to share the load.

So, how does the population feel about it?

Icelanders at their best

If there’s one thing Icelanders truly excel at, it’s dealing with disasters. And the nation seems to have managed to tackle this pandemic much like they would any other natural disaster, by uniting and conforming for the greater good. People wear gloves to the supermarket, use hand sanitizer religiously, respect social distancing and work from home. Choirs sing outside retirement homes that have been closed for visitors, joggers go out of their way to remain sufficiently apart at all times and shoppers line up military style in front of boutiques. Cabin fevered urbanites even stayed home over Easter to minimize any strain on emergency services due to increased traffic. Yet restrictions have been minimal. The most difficult one probably being retirement homes and hospitals being cut off from visitors and the closing of public pools, the Icelandic equivalent to the English pub. In a nation this tiny, everybody knows somebody who could be dramatically affected by this disease.

So, what is the current situation?

Current situation (May 2020)

Pools have now reopened and retirement homes can receive pre-booked visitors. Schools and preschools are back to their normal schedules and hairdressers and other personal services are allowed. Gatherings of more than 50 people are still not permitted and social distancing of at least 2 meters is still in effect. June 1st will lift more restrictions but at the moment we’re all looking to June 15th, when Iceland’s borders reopen with testing options to avoid quarantine upon entering the country.

Iceland’s approach to the pandemic has been very successful and while we’re all grateful to our medical professionals and authorities, we should acknowledge the united front of the common population and the huge part this attitude has played. In the end, we’re all in this together.

COVID-19 in Iceland - Statistics

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Blogg

Fáðu innblástur! Upplýsingar og góð ráð, áhugaverðir áfangastaðir, skemmtilegar staðreyndar og margt fleira. Bloggið okkar er á ensku en það er stórskemmtilegt engu að síður!

Fimm góðar ástæður til að taka Flugrútuna

Although it may not seem like it, you have in fact landed in civilisation and airport transfer in Iceland is readily available.

Lesa blogg