Iceland lifts all coronavirus restrictions


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Iceland said on Friday it would end all national measures to control the spread of COVID, 15 months after the implementation of the first restrictions, saying vaccination progress had allowed the move.

“It’s a strange feeling to have been here so often … to announce tougher measures, but today we will lift them,” Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir told a news conference.

The decision marks the end of the rules , dressed in masks, limits on public meetings and the opening hours of bars and restaurants from Saturday.

Iceland introduced virus restrictions for the first time in March 2020 and Health Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir said the easing of measures meant a return to normal life.

“We are re-establishing the society we are used to living in,” he said in a statement.

Iceland is the first nation in Europe to remove all restrictions, according to a four-stage timetable it had previously set.

The complete removal of the curbs was scheduled for the second half of June, when about 75 percent of people over the age of 16 were expected to receive at least one dose of vaccine.

On Thursday this figure stood at almost 88%, or 295,000 of Iceland’s 365,000 inhabitants.

Iceland will maintain restrictions at its borders, requiring a negative PCR test on travelers on arrival and another check after five days of quarantine for the unvaccinated.

Vaccinated arrivals or those who have overcome a previous COVID-19 infection will be free from the requirement to take a test when they arrive in Iceland from 1 July.

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© 2021 AFP

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