Iceland orders four-day closure of Reykjavik-area bars after uptick in COVID-19 infections

A bar in Reykjavik, Iceland, in May. On Friday, the Icelandic government announced bar and nightclub closures in the Reykjavik capital area until September 21 after several coronavirus infections were traced to nightlife areas. (Haraldur Gudjonsson/AFP/ via Getty)
Reykjavik-area bars and nightclubs started a four-day shutdown on Friday as the Icelandic government seeks to put the breaks on a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Iceland’s chief epidemiologist recommended the shutdowns after examining 38 recent cases and finding that at least a quarter of the individuals had visited particular bars or night-clubs in the Reykjavík capital area within the last week. 

“It is therefore essential to take immediate action to prevent a significant upsurge in infections with all the consequences that would entail,” the government said in a news release on Friday.

Iceland’s Minister of Health approved the proposal and ordered bars and nightclubs shut from September 18-21.

The order affects businesses in Reykjavik and the nearby towns and municipalities of Mosfellsbaer, Hafnarfjordur, Gardabaer, Kopavogur, Kjosarhreppur and Seltjarnarnes.

As of Friday, Iceland has had 2,230 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths since the pandemic began. Health authorities are reporting 21.8 domestic infections per 100,000 people over the last 14 days.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca 

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Chamber of Commerce in Canada’s Northwest Territories balks at price tag for new COVID-19 secretariat, CBC News

Finland:  Finnair to end flights to five regional airports, including to Kemi, Lapland, Yle News

Denmark: Faroe Islands updates COVID-19 guidelines for travellers, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Greenland approves revised COVID-19 strategy, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland relaxes COVID-19 restrictions for the arts, allows rehearsals to resume, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Finland, UK to remove travel restrictions on Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: To stop coronavirus, Arctic communities took matters into their own hands. Can it last?, Blog by Mia Bennett

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying an culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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