From Iceland — COVID-19 In Iceland: Parliament Scraps Schedule, 1,000 Infections Predicted

COVID-19 In Iceland: Parliament Scraps Schedule, 1,000 Infections Predicted

Published March 20, 2020

Poppy Askham
Photo by
Silje Bergum Kinsten/

New Plan for the Alþingi

From now until 20th April the Icelandic Parliament will only address matters directly concerning the COVID-19. The decision to withdraw the Alþingi‘s current work schedule was announced yesterday afternoon as Frettabladid reports. The move marks yet another step up in Iceland’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

All meetings related to matters that do not concern COVID-19 will be postponed until later in the year in order to allow politicians to fully prioritise the outbreak. The withdrawal of the work schedule will also mean a reduction in the amount of full parliamentary meetings held, reducing the risk of infection for MPs. At present, 3 Alþingi members of staff have tested positive for the virus and several MPs are self isolating.

EEA not included in EU export ban

The European Commission has clarified that EEA nations will be exempt from an export ban on protective equipment required to handle the COVID-19 outbreak. This comes following outcry from EEA nations as it was initially thought that the EU would stop shipping medical products including face masks for health workers to countries like Iceland.

The latest data

79 new infections were announced yesterday, bringing the total number of cases up to 409. Although this is in line with the expected exponential growth of the outbreak, the rapid increase in infections over the last two days will undoubtedly alarm many Icelanders.

Scientists have predicted that Iceland will reach 1,2000 infections by the end of May. The prediction is based on a model made by experts from the Universoty of Iceland, Office of the Director of Health and the National Hospital as reported by Frettabladid. 60 people are expected to require hospitalisation according to the group’s calculations, however the National Hospital fears that number could reach over 200.

Tourist Death Update

In yesterday’s COVID-19 press conference, the General Surgeon, Alma Möller announced that it was “very likely” that COVID-19 the cause of death of an Australian tourist who died in Húsavík on Monday, as reported by visir. The man tested positive for the virus despite not showing the usual symptoms, causing medical officials to initially question the true cause of his death.

Tune into our daily COVID-Cast for a deeper dive into the day’s developments.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

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