From Iceland — Strong Actions In The Westman Islands Have Been Successful

Strong Actions In The Westman Islands Have Been Successful

Published May 26, 2020

Nico Borbely
Photo by
Timothée Lambrecq

The COVID-19 action committee concluded its work in the Westman Islands off the coast of southern Iceland yesterday after two continuous months of daily meetings, RÚV reports. There have been no new infections there since April 20th.

The Westman Islands is one of the communities in the country that has been proportionately the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a total of 105 residents being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

“Things happened unexpectedly, as most people know,” says Páley Borgþórsdóttir, chief of police in the Westman Islands. “The first case was confirmed on March 15, then after a week there were 30 active infections, a week after that there were 58, and by the third week there were 102. Things escalated quickly here.”

She states that tough action was taken, with the gathering ban being tightened to a maximum of 10 people, compared to 20 in the rest of the country; gyms, kindergartens, and elementary schools being closed, and 4,000 of the islands’ 4,300 residents being tested. Páley states that these actions have succeeded well, with no new infections reported since April 20th.

“People have seen results. We had those 102 infections after three weeks, but after that we only had three more. Between these meeting restrictions and strict measures in isolating people, we have been able to overcome this.”

The annual children’s soccer tournament on the islands will take place with some restrictions, but it is still unclear whether a celebration for National Day will be held on June 17th.

“Of course we trust only the highest authorities on these matters, just like other citizens. This will depend on the outcome, the number of infections, and the decisions that the Minister of Health will make. That’s just it,” said Páley in an interview with Morgunútvarpið on Rás 2.

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