From Iceland — COVID-19 In Iceland: Netflix Celebrates Icelandic Response, Icelandair Firings

COVID-19 In Iceland: Netflix Celebrates Icelandic Response, Icelandair Firings

Published April 23, 2020

Poppy Askham
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Just four new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Iceland yesterday, April 22nd, according to the government database’s latest update. There have now been 1,789 cases recorded in Iceland. Over 1,500 people have recovered so far and four patients were discharged from hospital yesterday. No new deaths have been recorded but 15 patients remain in hospital, five of whom are receiving intensive care.

Netflix Focuses On Icelandic Productions

Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sanrandos, has revealed that Netflix is continuing production in Iceland and South Korea due to the success the countries’ governments have had in battling COVID-19, Deadline reports. The company has been forced to halt almost all content creation during the pandemic, but demand has simultaneously sky-rocketed due to global lock-down measures. Ted explained that Iceland and South Korea are the only countries in which production work is going ahead. The company has determined that it is safe to continue content creation in these two countries due to their “very aggressive” approach to testing and tracking early on in the crisis.

Mass Dismissals Expected At Icelandair

Many workers are expected to be laid off from Icelandair this month as the company struggles to cope with the economic impact of COVID-19, Fréttablaðið reports. This is the second waves of redundancies at the airline, last month 240 staff were dismissed and 92% of the remaining staff suffered a wage cut.

Bogi Nils Bogason, Icelandair’s CEO, has defended the measures as an unfortunate necessity in the light of the unprecedented drop in international travel caused by the virus. “We need to adapt the operations of Icelandair Group to the realities that are facing us”, he explained in an official statement. “There is enormous uncertainty ahead and unfortunately, the layoffs of staff are inevitable to get through this challenging period.”

Huge Drop In Bus Revenue

Strætó has announced that the revenue from its bus service is expected to fall up to ISK 610 million short of projections for 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Fréttablaðið reports. The calculation is made on the assumption that bus services will return to normal by August 2020 at the latest.

The number of passengers using Strætó’s services has fallen drastically in recent weeks as many Icelanders opt to work from home and avoid public transport. The company has also taken the decision to reduce journeys and modify routes during the outbreak. Strætó has attempted to reduce expenditure by postponing purchases of new vehicles, but the economic impact of the crisis will hit the company hard.

As ever information and advice about Iceland’s COVID-19 outbreak can be accessed on the government’s excellent website.

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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