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- 0 Public Health
- 49.2 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 Oct 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 2
- School closings 0
- Public event cancellations 1
- Testing policy 3
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
- Travel restrictions 2
- Tests/1,000 people 376.4
- Contact tracing 2
Iceland’s weak stimulus package brings its score down near the median, despite having generous debt forbearance.
- 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 Oct 1
Despite a very high rate of confirmed cases early on, reflected by substantial testing, Iceland effectively brought its numbers down; the country is again enforcing restrictions in an effort to manage a spike in cases.
- Total deaths 10
- Death rate per 100K 29.3
- Total cases 2,728
- Cases per 100K 7,994
- Percent of positive tests 2.5
- Change in positivity rates +1.4
|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 test or a 14-day quarantine; up to 500 people are allowed to gather||1.26|
|4||Jul 31||Gatherings of over 100 people are banned; masks are mandatory on public transit; screening at airports intensifies||12.98|
- 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
- Tourists could overwhelm Iceland's COVID-19 testing: Iceland is considering limiting foreign travelers, partly because of the strain on its COVID-19 testing, as additional equipment to increase testing capacity will not arrive until October. 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
- Widespread testing caught virus early: Icelandic genetics company deCODE led an aggressive targeted testing campaign. The company identified high-risk individuals and invited them to get tested, while also testing the general population. Read More
- Strict border closure allowed business as usual: Iceland's economy has continued to function due to the decision to close external borders but not lockdown the country entirely. Gyms, bars, and swimming pools were closed, but other businesses have been allowed to continue operating. Read More
Compared with Other Island Nations
Per 1M 10,740
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 1,564
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 1,480
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
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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