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Iceland, so far one of the countries that has fared better against the coronavirus, announced tightening restrictions since the middle of last month after a surge in new cases.

The Late on Saturday it was announced that most sports facilities, bars and discos will be closed from Monday, while gatherings are limited to a maximum of 20 people.

Supermarkets can serve up to 100 customers, while swimming pools can only be used to 50 percent.

These restrictions will last two to three weeks, the ministry said.

"Over the past few days, the number of new cases every day has been relatively constant at 30 to 40. It is therefore clear that the current measures are not sufficient to adequately control the epidemic," said chief epidemiologist Thorolfur Gudnason in a statement directed to The Ministry.

Iceland have taken targeted measures – for example, nightclubs in the capital Reykjavik, which only reopened last Monday after a 10-day shutdown – combined with general hygiene rules and social distancing to control the virus.

The latest steps follow Outbreaks in two nursing homes in Rekyavik and a sharp increase in hospital stays, seven-fold over a week.

"The hospital is not as well prepared for the influx of patients as it was in the spring," said Pall Matthiasson, head of the Icelandic university hospital, in a message to the public and staff on its website on Friday.

In the past 19 days, Iceland has reported 663 new cases, mainly in Reykjavik and the surrounding area.

Iceland, home to 365,000 people, has recorded 2,872 cases and 10 deaths since the outbreak began earlier this year.


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