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- 70.8 Public Health
- 87.9 Financial
- 100 Fact-Based
Iceland has a very strong score, owing heavily to its reliance on facts as well as generous debt and income support; its large improvement since January was keyed by significant improvements in public health policy and financial support.
A low debt-to-GDP ratio, a very healthy population, minimal inequality, and widely accessible quality health services overshadow Iceland’s low number of hospital beds and made it relatively well-positioned to respond to the pandemic.
- Debt/GDP ratio 37.6%
- GDP/capita $56,974
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) 26.8
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 2
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 93.6
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 22.6
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Mar 15.)
Public Health Directives
Iceland has a relatively strong public health policy score, with weak testing and travel restrictions keeping its score from being higher.
- Stay at home order 0
- Public gathering restrictions 3
- School closings 1
- Public event cancellations 1
- Testing policy 3
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people 846
- Contact tracing 2
Iceland’s very weak stimulus package is over-ridden by its very generous income support and debt forbearance, giving it a very strong score.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 9.2%
- Income support 2
- Debt forebearance 2
Iceland’s health authorities have made regular, fact-based briefings to the press.
- Reliance on science/fact based information 0
- Press freedom 0
COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15
Despite a very high rate of confirmed cases early on, Iceland effectively brought its numbers down; it has kept cases and deaths low, and its very low positivity rate suggests it is testing a wide range of its population.
- Total deaths 3
- Death rate per 100K 8
- Total cases 6,083
- Cases per 100K 0
- Percent of positive tests 0.3
- Change in positivity rates -1.2
|Schools, personal services venues, gyms, bars, and pools open, increasing gathering sizes from 20 to 50
|Up to 200 people are allowed to gather
|People arriving in Iceland undergo a COVID-19 test or a 14-day quarantine; up to 500 people are allowed to gather
|Gatherings of over 100 people are banned; masks are mandatory on public transit; screening at airports intensifies
- Iceland suspends AstraZeneca vaccine to investigate blood clot reports: Iceland joined a growing number of nations pausing vaccinations using AstraZeneca after 22 cases of blood clotting were reported among the three million people vaccinated across Europe—but there is not any clear evidence of a causal link. Read More
- Previously infected visitors to Iceland can bypass quarantine: Iceland is allowing visitors to be exempt from mandatory quarantine and screening requirements if they can prove prior infection, starting December 10th. Read More
- Vaccine delays likely slow down Iceland's herd immunity plan: Iceland planned to vaccinate 75 percent of its population born before 2005 by the spring, but a delay from Pfizer puts that timeline at risk. Read More
- Iceland's tourism industry might take four years to recover: Iceland's travel industry association's head thinks it will take three to four years for Iceland's tourism industry to recover from COVID-19. Read More
- Testing to start for COVID-19 nasal spray: Icelandic pharmaceutical company Kerecis is starting a clinical trial to test a nasal spray that has shown promise to combat COVID-19. Read More
- Genetic testing helping Iceland's contact tracing: Iceland's genetic analysis of each COVID-19 case has resulted in contact tracing that has produced a much lower case rate than in other countries. Read More
- Proactive policies saved lives: A proactive response has been key to Iceland's success: a contact tracing system had been established before the state had detected its first case of coronavirus. Read More
Compared with Other Island Nations
Per 1M 5,498
Indonesia scores relatively weakly, a big drop in the past few months, keyed by substantial weakening of travel restrictions, testing policy, and debt relief.
Per 1M 1,146
Japan has a strong overall score, driven by its generous financial response and a reliance on facts, although its public health policy is very weak.
100New Zealand 2,432
Per 1M 3
New Zealand has had very strong policy, particularly with regard to its reliance on science and facts and its relatively strong financial response.
Per 1M 2
Taiwan has a relatively strong policy score, but its minimal stimulus and weak debt relief bring it down. However, the data does not accurately measure its advanced contact tracing, which may have diminished the need for more restrictions; this likely results in a score that underestimates Taiwan’s response.
Further Reading From Foreign Policy
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Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:
- Debt to GDP ratio
- Infant mortality rates
- Hospital beds per 1,000 people
- Gini coefficients measuring inequality
- Health access and quality
COVID-19 Public Health Directives:
- Stay-at home orders
- School-closing policy
- Public-gathering restrictions
- Cancellation of public events
- Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
- Emergency healthcare spending per capita
- Travel restrictions
- Contact tracing
COVID-19 Financial Response:
- Stimulus package as a share of GDP
- Income support
- Instances of misinformation by leadership
- Limitations on press freedom, censorship
Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:
- Death rates per 1 million
- Case rates per 1 million