Climate & Environment
Iceland: Volcanic eruption near Reykjavik
Iceland: Volcanic eruption near Reykjavik
Credit: Courtesy of YouTube

Not far from the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, the Fagradalsfjall volcano has erupted. According to the Meteorological Service of the island state, only slight seismological shocks were measured on Saturday night. Nevertheless, the surface of the volcano cracked over a length of 500 metres and small lava fountains sprayed upwards. A glowing stream of liquid rock poured out along the mountain flanks, reportedly reaching a size of about one square kilometre.

Regional News • Europe
Iceland opens borders to vaccinated travellers
Iceland opens borders to vaccinated travellers
Credit: / Hari Nandakumar

Iceland has opened its borders to travellers who are fully vaccinated or can produce confirmation of a prior infection on March 18, the first European country to do so.

“The world has been through a lot in the past twelve months, and we are all hoping for a slow and safe return to normalcy. This also includes the resumption of the opportunity to travel, which is valuable to culture, trade and enterprise. The decision to apply border exemptions for vaccinated individuals to countries outside the EU/EEA area is a logical extension of our current policy,” says Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland.

Regional News • World
2021 World Happiness Report: Finland gets gold again
2021 World Happiness Report: Finland gets gold again
Credit: / SaiKrishna Saketh Yellapragada

In 2021's World Happiness Report, Finland has retained the number 1 position.

In second place, Iceland jumps forward 2 places from 4th last year. Denmark and Switzerland move down 1 to third and fourth place respectively, with The Netherlands and Sweden jumping forward 1 to fifth and sixth place respectively.

Germany makes great strides in 2020, gaining 8 places on last year, moving to 7th place.

Regional News • World
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Sydney's Lowy Institute assessed the Covid-19 response of 98 countries on six different criteria – including cases, deaths and testing – and ranked New Zealand's response to the virus the best. The other countries that made the top 10 are Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iceland, Australia, Latvia and Sri Lanka. The United States, Mexico, Colombia and Iran and Brazil were in the bottom five, with Brazil being ranked at the bottom.

Sports • Soccer
England's FA plead with UK government to grant Iceland players travel exemption
Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium Credit: David Wilson (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Talks are continuing on Thursday between the FA and senior government officials in an attempt to clarify whether existing coronavirus regulations denying Iceland's players and staff entry into the United Kingdom will remain in place. The current restrictions relate to a new coronavirus strain that has spread to humans from mink in Denmark.

"We have asked the Government to consider allowing us to play our final Nations League match at Wembley Stadium, by giving travel exemption to the Icelandic team subject to strict medical protocols," the FA said on its Twitter account.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir says Iceland support for Icelandair may involve a stake in the company
Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir says Iceland support for Icelandair may involve a stake in the company
Credit: Iceland (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In an interview with a local radio station, Iceland Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir disclosed the government may consider taking a stake in Icelandair Group if there is an injection of funds into the airline.

“If there will be specific support, we need to weigh if it is natural that the state gets a share in it or if the state’s interest is better guarded with another solution,” Jakobsdottir said in the interview.

Science • Animals
No whales will be killed in Iceland in 2020

Both of the Icelandic companies that hunt and kill whales have announced that they'll forgo killing whales in 2020. This makes the first time in 17 years that no whales will be killed during the summer season in the waters around Iceland. Thee general manager of IP-Utgerd, one of the two companies, has said that the hunting has become more expensive due to an extension of a no-fishing zone near the coasts of the island. Instead the company will focus on fishing sea cucumbers.

Iceland’s mass testing finds half of carriers show no symptoms of Corona

In an effort to test every citizen in Iceland, authorities claim that they had tested a higher proportion of the citizens than anywhere else in the world. Instead of testing only people with symptoms, Iceland tests everyone. So far they have tested 10,300 people of a total population of 364,000. “Early results from deCode Genetics indicate that a low proportion of the general population has contracted the virus and that about half of those who tested positive are non-symptomatic, the other half displays very moderate cold-like symptoms.” Thorolfur Guðnason, Iceland’s chief epidemiologist said.