Icelandic schools will be opened for full-time education, according to Iceland’s prime minister and minister of health. According to RÚV, the council of state will meet this week to review the state of the pandemic. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir says the council will evaluate the effectiveness of the restrictions introduced in the past two weeks in response to the current wave of COVID-19 infections, the largest in Iceland since the start of the pandemic.
Primary schools and kindergartens remained largely open in Iceland throughout the pandemic, although their activities were sometimes restricted. The prime minister says it will continue to do so. “We will continue to prioritize school activities. Part of the preparation for the normal functioning of schools is to vaccinate teachers “ Katrín said. School workers in Iceland have received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, but are now being offered a booster dose from Pfizer or Moderna, as are all Icelanders who have received the single dose J&J vaccine.
Health Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir stressed that the current national restrictions related to COVID-19 do not limit school activities in any way. The Icelandic Medicines Agency has approved the use of Pfizer COVID-19 in the 12-15 age group, and Icelandic health authorities are currently considering whether to recommend immunization for this age group before the start of the school year.
In recent days, Cabinet members have scheduled meetings with interest groups such as teachers, artists and athletes. One of the objectives of these meetings is to assess the need for further economic measures in response to the pandemic. Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said the economic impact of the pandemic in 2021 was small compared to last year’s blow. The current economic measures will be in place until the end of this year.
While vaccines are not as effective in preventing infection and the spread of the Delta variant as has been predicted, they reduce hospitalizations and serious illnesses caused by coronaviruses. According to the prime minister, this changes the situation and requires a reassessment of the government’s response to the pandemic.