From Iceland — Possible Return Of Quarantine Hotel, Poll Shows High Public Support

Possible Return Of Quarantine Hotel, Poll Shows High Public Support

Published April 20, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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The possibility of re-instating the quarantine hotel is now very real, in the wake of a new outbreak that has been traced back to two individuals who broke quarantine upon returning to Iceland.

Vísir reports that the Social Democrats will submit a bill proposing changes to the existing pandemic response laws that would compel people to spend the requisite five-day quarantine between border screenings in a hotel, under the auspices of state supervision. During parliamentary discussions on the matter, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said that if it turned out that the measures which the Ministry of Health put in place, after the initial quarantine hotel was deemed unlawful, were insufficient then they would review the matter again.

RÚV reports that the government will meet today to review how a quarantine hotel law could be written that would be in harmony with existing laws. Sources close to RÚV say that Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir may introduce a bill on this matter.

Where public support is concerned, a new Gallup poll shows that some 62% of Icelanders support requiring arrivals to stay in a quarantine hotel between border screenings. There were very few demographic differences, apart from those who said they support the Independence Party—only 46% of these respondents said they would support such a measure, compared to 61% to 73% of voters for other parties. This result is hardly surprising, as several MPs for the Independence Party were vocal in their opposition to the initial quarantine hotel.

The outbreak, which cropped up over the weekend, also led to a record number of sample testing done in a single day, Vísir reports. Over 3,000 samples were taken at Reykjavík area health clinics alone, with people standing in long lines just to get tested.

It is still uncertain if the government will introduce an updated bill on a quarantine hotel today, at some point this week, or at all. In any case, it is likely that authorities will propose some kind of change to existing pandemic response laws.

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