The national emergency rating will be lowered on Monday, May 25th as Iceland enters the next phase of relaxing COVID-19 measures. No new cases were detected yesterday and one patient recovered, meaning there are currently two active infections in the country.
Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated that the current ‘state of emergency’ will be lifted in the penultimate civil protection information meeting on May 20th, RÚV reports. Authorities increased the country’s risk level from ‘crisis’ to ’emergency’ on March 6th. A state of emergency will only be re-declared if another group infection occurs. In the future, risk ratings may be municipality-specific rather than countrywide.
As reported, Þórólfur has submitted his proposal to significantly ease COVID-19 restrictions, including the reopening of bars and permitting gatherings of up to 200 people. He now awaits the Minister of Health’s approval.
The last civil protection information meeting will also be held on Monday. The meetings, regularly starring Þórólfur, Head of Police Víðir Reynisson, and Surgeon General Alma Möller, have been an integral part of Iceland’s COVID-19 response to date. In fact, RUV’s broadcasts of the meetings were some of the most watched programmes this year –75% of the population watched the final daily broadcast on May 5th.
Expired Visa Provisions Extended
Visas and residence permits have been extended for a second time for people who cannot leave the country due to COVID-19.
Foreigners who have overstayed their visa period due to quarantine, isolation or travel restrictions will be safe from deportation until at least July 1st, according to a statement by the Directorate of Immigration (ÚTL). However, this does not extend to people whose permits or visas had expired before March 20th.
The change is automatic so there is no need to apply for an extension.
ÚTL urges anyone in this position to leave the country as soon as possible, by at July 1st 2020. There is currently no indication that the ÚTL will offer a third extension.
As ever more information about COVID-19 in Iceland is available on the government’s help page.
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