From Iceland — Chief Epidemiologist: Iceland May Need To Reconsider Lifting Pandemic Restrictions

Chief Epidemiologist: Iceland May Need To Reconsider Lifting Pandemic Restrictions

Published October 27, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason believes there is a strong possibility that authorities may need to reconsider the current aim to lift all pandemic restrictions in three weeks’ time, Vísir reports. This is largely due to the recent upswing of domestic cases and hospitalisations.

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“Naturally, it’s the government and the [health] minister who decide this in the end,” he told reporters. “But I think that if we see a great increase, and increased intakes at the hospital, that we may need to rethink these plans.”

He added that a clearer picture should form over the next few days, with a particular focus on the hospitals. How many admissions for COVID the hospitals see, and how prepared they are to handle them, will largely inform what next steps may need to be taken.

As it stands now, all mask restrictions have been lifted for a week now, with social gathering limits now up to 2,000 people. Since then, daily domestic cases have been climbing rapidly, with yesterday’s numbers showing 84 cases—up from 23 cases outside of quarantine when the mask restrictions were lifted.

Þórólfur has been diligent to remind people that the pandemic is not over. Responding to recent remarks from a conservative city councilperson that “scare tactics” were being employed, he cited Denmark as a cautionary example for what happened when they lifted their restrictions about a month ago.

“At that time, they were diagnosing about 300 people per day [with coronavirus infection],” he said. “Then that shot up to 600 to 700 per day, and over the past two days it has reached 1,300 per day. So what happens now? Is it coming back to bite the Danes? I hope not, but it could happen.”

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