Country's incredible Covid feat despite record-high infections

·3-min read

Despite recording the highest number of Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, Iceland is proving that vaccinations are working.

The country recorded 2,847 new infections of Covid-19 over the past month, but despite a large amount of these cases being the highly contagious Delta variant, the majority of new infections are reported to be mild.

Only two per cent of the infected are in hospital and, according to Iceland government statistics and Oxford University's Our World in Data, the nation hasn't recorded a single Covid death since May 25.

Iceland is proving vaccinations are working. Source: AP Photo
Iceland is proving vaccinations are working. Source: AP Photo

Since February 28, 2020, the country has recorded 9,522 infections and 30 deaths, as reported in government data.

Despite seeing a second wave of the deadly virus, only 26 people have been hospitalised. A stark comparison to Australia — which is also experiencing an outbreak of the virus — where 503 people are currently being hospitalised.

71 per cent of Icelanders are vaccinated.  Source: Iceland Government Website
71 per cent of Icelanders are vaccinated. Source: Iceland Government Website

Epidemiologists are calling it a 'victory'

The high vaccination rates and low death rate have epidemiologists saying Iceland is "a vaccination success."

"Iceland proves vaccines work," Carlos del Rio, a distinguished professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory School of Medicine, tweeted on Sunday.

"Out of the 1,300 people currently infected, just 2% are in the hospital and the country hasn’t recorded a virus death since late May."

Brandon Guthrie, an epidemiologist and global health professor at the University of Washington, told The Washington Post that "having few deaths or severe cases of illness in the context of large surges should absolutely be seen as at least a partial victory".

With the Icelandic hospital chief executive Pall Matthiasson saying that without vaccines, Iceland’s outbreak “would be catastrophic".

The majority of Icelanders are vaccinated 

71 per cent of Iceland's population is fully vaccinated, making it fourth in the world in the vaccination rollout. The majority of Icelanders are vaccinated with Pfizer. 

The three countries with higher vaccine rates are Malta (80.5 per cent), United Arab Emirates (73.7 per cent), and Singapore (73.1 per cent).

27.5 per cent of adults aged 16 and above in Australia are currently fully vaccinated.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 23.6 per cent of the world is vaccinated against Covid-19. 

Covid-19 restrictions remain in place until August 27

Even though the majority of the country is vaccinated, Icelandic health officials are maintaining Covid-19 restrictions until at least August 27

That means a 200-person limit on gatherings, maintaining a 1-metre social distancing rule.

Face masks are also still recommended in crowded spaces, and an 11pm curfew for bars and restaurants, and customers are only allowed to drink alcohol if seated.

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