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Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus B MacNeil has hosted a meeting with Icelandic Justice Minister Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Faroese MP Kristina Hàfoss and a group of cross-party MPs from across the UK to discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Iceland and the Faroe Islands are successfully controlling the spread of COVID-19 by continuing to test, trace and isolate.
Commenting after the meeting, Mr MacNeil said: ‘I am grateful to political friends in Iceland and the Faroe Islands for taking time to share their experiences in an informative meeting on how Iceland and the Faroe Islands are leading in the testing of their population and reducing active coronavirus cases, with the Faroe Islands having zero active cases and Iceland having just 12.
‘The Faroe Islands have tested 16 per cent of the population and this will continue despite having zero active cases.
‘Given their continuous policy of test, trace and isolate throughout the pandemic they have managed to track the virus in its steps, in the case of Iceland all infections were traced. What these countries show is they have used lockdown wisely by testing and tracking wherever necessary.
‘Both countries maintain a strict border policy and arrivals have to quarantine for 14 days, unlike the UK which will not start this policy until June, almost three months after lockdown.
‘Lifting lockdown was discussed and it was noted lifting restrictions could be possible sooner in some parts of each nation as well as each nation going at a different pace.
‘Also, governments should have a plan in place for dealing with further hotspots/outbreaks and whether real time small lockdowns might be needed.
‘The Faroes and Iceland have started to reduce their restrictions, Iceland never locked down fully and the Faroe Islands have just about lifted internal restrictions, bar mass gatherings.
‘From today (Thursday), the Faroese social distance has reduced from two metres to one metre, while in Iceland facilities such as public swimming pools will re-open this week.’