Iceland is a model comparable to New Zealand in Europe, not only because of its green landscapes and natural wonders.
Like New Zealand, Iceland appears to have responded to the Coronavirus pandemic better than many other countries. This North Atlantic country is the undisputed leader in Europe in terms of reducing HIV infections, partly due to its remote location, as well as its coherent strategy.
“Our efforts to combat the pandemic have gone better than we expected,” the Prime Minister of Iceland, Catherine Jakobsdottir, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
She added that the Icelandic strategy, which includes comprehensive tests and the issuance of results quickly, and consistent tracking of cases of contact with infected people, and the requirements of quarantine and self-isolation, may have shown better results than the strict measures followed by some other countries.
The basis of success
“This is the basis of our success … easy access to tests for people, traceability and the scientific method,” Jakobsdottir added.
This strategy is reflected in a very low rate of new infections, after the peak in mid-October, the numbers decreased rapidly.
Finally, the health authorities reported that there had been no new local case of Coronavirus for six consecutive days, and only a few cases were discovered among travelers who had arrived in the country.
With a 14-day incidence rate of only 6.59% of injuries per 100,000 people, Iceland is unmatched, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Other northern European countries score much higher – Norway at 66, Finland 88 and Denmark 100 – although they have the lowest numbers in the European Economic Area. Germany’s average of 141 is much higher.
In addition, deaths related to the Corona virus in Iceland during the recent period have been non-existent.
Iceland’s isolated location in the North Atlantic, of course, provides an advantage, with a population of only about 360,000 – compared to many cities in Europe.
The country’s success is also attributed to the strict procedures, testing, contact tracing, and the population’s high degree of confidence in the country’s experts.
As an island nation, border controls are easier to enforce. Germany, for example, has nine neighbors and several international airports, and travelers arrive in Iceland almost exclusively through Keflavik airport near Reykjavik.
As of last Friday, passengers arriving on a ship or plane have to show a negative test for Coronavirus that does not pass more than 72 hours to enter, and in addition, there is a mandatory test upon arrival, in addition to undergoing a quarantine between five and six Days, as well as another test after this quarantine period.
Quarantine is an important component of Icelandic strategy, as every person who has had contact with an infected person must endure it without exception. So far, about 6,000 people in Iceland have tested positive for the virus, while nearly 46,000 people have been quarantined.
Trust the experts
Icelanders trust their experts a lot. Chief epidemiologist Thorulfor Goodnason, civil defense chief Feder Rennison, and Health Director Alma Muller are often referred to as “the Trinity”. Despite the strict restrictions on public life, most people adhere to their guidelines.
This has led to some benefits recently.For example, bars are allowed to reopen this month, but like restaurants and cafes, they are only allowed to serve guests at tables and they should close by 10pm. Individual training in the gym is also allowed again.
The authorities allowed an increase in the maximum number of visitors to cinemas, theaters, museums, concerts, and religious events, finally, from 100 to 150.
The testing requirements and strict entry rules allow Iceland to perform balanced and important work for the country’s tourism industry, as tourists are received again in the country, while keeping new infections outside the country.
A step in this direction is that travelers who can prove that they have previously been infected with the Coronavirus, or that they have been vaccinated against “Covid-19”, can be exempted from testing and self-isolation.
The tourism sector, which is extremely important to Iceland, witnessed a sharp decline in 2020, as the number of foreign guests decreased by more than three-quarters to less than 500,000 people, and it is not clear whether things will improve in 2021.
“I am optimistic in the long term,” the prime minister said. “We have expectations that a certain number of tourists will come to Iceland in the summer, but we do not know if that will happen.”
Ultimately it depends on how quickly vaccination programs advance in Iceland and other countries.
A new entry system based on assessments by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has been planned for May 1. Then travelers from countries with a low risk of infection will be exempt from quarantine.
Passengers arriving on a ship or plane must show a negative corona test that does not pass more than 72 hours to enter, and there is a mandatory test upon arrival, in addition to undergoing a quarantine between five and six days, and another test after the quarantine period.
The tourism sector, which is extremely important to Iceland, saw a sharp decline in 2020, as the number of foreign guests decreased by more than three-quarters to less than 500,000 people, and it is not clear if things will improve in 2021.
In light of the average frequency of injuries within 14 days
It is only 6.59% per 100,000 inhabitants, Iceland
It is unparalleled, according to data from the European Prevention Center
From diseases and control.
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