From Iceland — COVID-19 Press Conference: Restrictions To Continue, Border Situation Still Uncertain

COVID-19 Press Conference: Restrictions To Continue, Border Situation Still Uncertain

Published June 29, 2020

Photo by
Art Bicnick

The planned further easing of social gathering restrictions, originally slated for July 13th, will be postponed in light of a possible group infection that recently appeared, chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason said at a news conference today. Further, chief of police Víðir Reynisson said that a definitive decision on who the borders will and will not be open to on July 1st has still not been taken.

There are currently 12 active confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Iceland, with 443 in quarantine. A great many of those people are connected to two confirmed cases, who recently returned from a trip to the United States.

This, and the fact that in Þórólfur’s estimation, people are not being as diligent about hygiene and social distancing as they were last March, has prompted he and his team to recommend scrapping plans to lift social gathering restrictions from 500 people to 2,000 people on July 13th, as originally planned. Further, they will recommend that clubs continue to close at 23:00. They have not decided when these restrictions will be lifted; only that they will remain in place for the time being.

As July 1st looms—the date at which Iceland is due to open its borders to some, most or all non-Schengen countries—the big question is if anyone will be barred. Although the EU has decided not to admit Americans to the EU due to the spiking rates of the coronavirus in that country, Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir has said that Iceland will make its own decisions on the matter, regardless of Europe’s decision.

However, at the press conference today, Víðir said that no formal decision has been taken on who or whether anyone will be barred from entry on July 1st. As July 1st is the day after tomorrow, a final decision can be expected soon.

As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s excellent COVID-19 help page.

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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