Travel and tourism will be changed forever. We asked seven leading thinkers for their predictions.
- 32.2 Public Health
- 65.6 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 Jan 1.)
Public Health Directives
Iceland has a relatively weak public health policy score, driven by no real lockdown of any sort, and weak scores in most areas except contact tracing and testing policy.
- Stay at home order 0
- Public gathering restrictions 4
- School closings 1
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 3
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people 706.4
- Contact tracing 2
Iceland’s weak stimulus package is overridden by its generous income support and debt forbearance, giving it a relatively 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 Jan 1
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 low positivity rate suggests it is testing a wide range of its population
- Total deaths 29
- Death rate per 100K 85
- Total cases 5,754
- Cases per 100K 16,862
- Percent of positive tests 1.5
- Change in positivity rates -1
|1||May 04||Schools, personal services venues, gyms, bars, and pools open, increasing gathering sizes from 20 to 50||2.93|
|2||May 25||Up to 200 people are allowed to gather||0.84|
|3||Jun 15||People arriving in Iceland undergo a COVID-19 test or a 14-day quarantine; up to 500 people are allowed to gather||1.68|
|4||Jul 31||Gatherings of over 100 people are banned; masks are mandatory on public transit; screening at airports intensifies||17.58|
- 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
- Foreigners fined for violations: French tourists who tested positive and violated Iceland's isolation rules were fined by authorities. Read More
- Iceland adds quarantine, double test, for travelers: Iceland is now requiring all visitors from abroad to take 2 COVID-19 tests—one on arrival and one 4 or 5 days later, coupled with quarantining themselves between tests, before being allowed to travel in-country. Read More
Compared with Other Island Nations
Per 1M 22,329
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 3,342
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.
88.5New Zealand 2,162
Per 1M 25
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 7
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
Be the source of actionable insight.
Select one of the subscription options below to read the full Covid-19 Global Response Index. Unlock even more global intelligence with a subscription to FP Insider.
Already an FP Insider? Log In
Looking for group access? Contact us directly
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