From Iceland — MPs Show Concern Over COVID-19 Actions

MPs Show Concern Over COVID-19 Actions

Published October 8, 2020

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MPs and ministers have expressed their doubts over the Minister of Health, Svandís Svavarsdóttir’s COVID-19 control measures, according to Fréttablaðið.

There are concerns within Parliament about the legitimacy and proportionality of the actions taken to tackle COVID-19, and the economic and social impact these actions are having. Three ministers of the Independence Party are among the skeptics: Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurnjörnsdóttir, Minister of Tourism Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson.

The ministers of the Progressive Party and the Left Green Party stand behind the Svandís and the actions she has taken thus far. But it seems to have come as a surprise to a lot of MPs that the Minister of Health approved the epidemiologist’s new proposals for tougher measures in the Capital area without discussing them with the government first, as is normally the case.

Impacting constitutional rights

Many in Parliament are concerned that it has gone too far in allowing experts take the lead in the decision making, saying that the freedom of movement of people in Iceland is being severely impacted, and it’s natural for democratically elected representatives to be more involved in making such decisions.

Brynjar Níelsson is among those concerned about the legitimacy of the Svandís’ actions, and believes they go too far against the constitutionally protected rights of the public. Brynjar expressed these concerns at a meeting with the Constitutional and Monitoring Committee yesterday. Other MPs have also expressed concern that proportionality isn’t maintained whilst implementing individual measures.

There has also been huge concern that the consequences of the measures taken against COVID-19, both economically and socially, have not been properly taken into account.

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