“As many people as possible need to be infected with the virus as the vaccines are not enough,” said Iceland’s Ministry of Health.
- Iceland will lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, including a 200-person indoor gathering limit and restricted opening hours for bars, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
- The major announcement was made by Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson and PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir, following a government meeting, according to Iceland Monitor.
- “Widespread societal resistance to COVID-19 is the main route out of the epidemic,” the ministry said in a statement, citing infectious disease authorities.
- The ministry admitted that COVID-19 mRNA gene therapy drugs are “not enough” to deal with the disease.
- “To achieve this [societal resistance to COVID-19], as many people as possible need to be infected with the virus as the vaccines are not enough, even though they provide good protection against serious illness,” the ministry said.
HOW ICELAND MADE THE DECISION:
- The decision was made unanimously by government members and in accordance with the suggestions of the chief epidemiologist, who presented the government with three different scenarios, according to Iceland Monitor.
- The main reasoning behind the decision to lift restrictions is that the pandemic is so widespread that restrictions do not seem to suffice to limit its spread.
- The Monitor also noted indications that many more citizens “have caught the disease than public records confirm.”
- Iceland’s health ministry said all border restrictions would also be lifted, Reuters notes.
- “We are restoring normal life, but the virus is still with us. We know very well that there are many who will still be infected then and this can create difficulties in workplaces, health institutions, and just in everyone’s lives,” said PM Jakobsdóttir. “We believe we can survive with this virus.”
- Officials said they hope this would be the last time that changes to the disease control limits would be announced.