Iceland: No lockdown and experts at the forefront

Jón Gunnar Ólafsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Icelandic government’s response to COVID-19 has focused on enabling relevant experts to disseminate important information directly to the public. Politicians have followed scientific advice from the beginning of the global outbreak. This resulted in a high level of preparedness before the novel coronavirus inevitably arrived in Iceland. Unlike many countries, Iceland never imposed a lockdown and primary schools and kindergartens were not closed. Alongside various restrictions that were implemented, emphasis was placed on tracking down all those who had been close to infected individuals and these people were immediately put in quarantine. With the help of the biotech company deCODE, authorities tested a large percentage of the population, which made it easier to track those who might be infected. Surveys show that Icelanders are very satisfied with how the Icelandic government has handled the pandemic, with over 95% trusting official press briefings and the government’s response. In late summer, there was a rise in COVID-19 cases and increased criticism in the media concerning various aspects of border controls and restrictions, but trust numbers in the government’s response, and the experts at the forefront, remained high. Iceland’s response so far has been, by most comparative measures, a success.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitical Communication and COVID-19
Subtitle of host publicationGovernance and Rhetoric in Times of Crisis
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781000371680
ISBN (Print)9780367636838
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 selection and editorial matter, Darren Lilleker, Ioana A. Coman, Miloš Gregor and Edoardo Novelli.


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