The Interview

Iceland 'gaining control' over Covid-19, PM tells FRANCE 24

THE INTERVIEW
THE INTERVIEW © FRANCE 24

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir discussed the outbreak of Covid-19 in Iceland, which has around 1,800 cases of the disease and so far only 10 deaths. "I think we are gaining control over the pandemic," she said. Jakobsdóttir explained the reasons for her country's success in doing so, particularly mass testing and contact tracing. She also emphasised the importance of the population following social distancing rules.

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In an interview with FRANCE 24, Iceland's Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said the Covid-19 pandemic was not over but was "under relatively good control" in her country, with very few new infections.

Iceland has tested more than 46,000 people, or 12 percent of the population. Jakobsdóttir said the early decision to conduct mass testing, coupled with the use of contact tracing, was key to containing the spread of the virus. She added that a partnership between the private and public sector had been important in this testing campaign, which targeted both those with and without symptoms.

The prime minister said a plan to widely test antibodies in the blood against the virus would hopefully be carried out in May.

Contact tracing done on voluntary basis

The other important measure taken was contact tracing through a smartphone app, which Jakobsdóttir said had a "93 percent success rate" but protected privacy because it was done on a voluntary basis. 

The Icelandic PM said social restrictions would be partly lifted as of May 4, but that if a second wave of the virus was to develop, they would be reinstated.

Jakobsdóttir brushed aside the notion that women leaders were better at handling the pandemic than their male counterparts, stressing that the key was to "follow the advice of scientists and take transparent decisions". She also stressed that the behaviour of the population was crucial to getting the virus under control.

Finally, she said that fighting climate change would remain a priority for Iceland after the pandemic, but admitted that Covid-19 has put a "strain" on international cooperation, implying that it would also hurt the fight against climate change globally. 

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