The EBU have confirmed that Iceland will not attend the Turquoise Carpet ceremony today. Routine testing at Rotterdam 2021 produced a positive covid-19 test result for one member of the Icelandic delegation. The entire delegation have therefore gone into self-isolation.
This afternoon the EBU issued a press statement which includes the following:
“During a routine test on Sunday 16 May, a member of the Icelandic delegation tested positive for COVID-19.ESC Communications Team
In accordance with our strict health and safety protocol this person has now gone into isolation and as a precautionary measure, the other members of their delegation will also now undergo a PCR test and self-isolate.
Unfortunately, this means that the Icelandic delegation will now not attend the Turquoise Carpet event in person this afternoon (Sunday 16 May). We will have further updates in due course and send our best wishes to the whole delegation.”
Icelandic press reporting potential impact on event participation
Reports from Icelandic news outlet MBL say their newsroom has spoken with Icelandic Head of Press, Rúnar Freyr Gíslason. MBL quotes Gíslason as stating that the positive test was not among the six performers that take the stage for Iceland, but among other members of the delegation. News of a covid-19 case within Iceland’s delegation is currently headline news on all Icelandic Reporting from Vísir says that Gíslason would not state whether the person testing positive was exhibiting any coronavirus symptoms. All members of the Icelandic delegation received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine shortly before departing Iceland. The J&J vaccine is considered to have 67% effectiveness two weeks after the jab, Vísir reports, based on statements of the Icelandic Medicines Agency. The J&J vaccine course is only one single shot, unlike the two required for others such as Pfizer and AstraZenica.
National broadcaster RÚV’s lead news article this afternoon carries quotes from Icelandic Head of Delegation, Felix Bergsson regarding the covid-19 test result.
“”However, it is quite clear that we will miss the opening ceremony tonight and then [after further PCR test results] it will be clear whether Daði will be on stage on Thursday night.”Felix Bergsson, Icelandic Head of Delegation
Bergsson corroborates to RÚV the MBL report that the positive test was not one of Daði Freyr og Gagnamagnið.
RÚV will be broadcasting each Eurovision show to Iceland. Viewing figures for Eurovision in Iceland are among the very highest in Europe as a proportion of population. RÚV reassures its viewers:
Eurovision fans in Iceland do not have to fear, however, because Iceland will take part in the competition, no matter what. The rules of the competition stipulate that if an infection occurs among the competitors, the recording of the event is used.RUV.is (Freyr Gígja Gunnarsson)
As we know, this recording can be either a rehearsal run-through that was already completed, or the ‘live-on-tape’ recording made before arrival in Netherlands. This choice sits with the delegation of the affected entrant. The turquoise carpet Opening Ceremony event of Eurovision 2021 takes place in Rotterdam today. The Icelanders will not take part in this, due to the requirement for all of the Icelandic delegation to self-isolate at their hotel. All Icelandic delegates are undergoing additional PCR tests today.
Third covid-19 incident at Eurovision 2021
Health and safety protocols have twice already caused disruption to planned events in Rotterdam. On Wednesday, Kateryna Pavlenko did not participate in Ukraine’s second rehearsal. Go_A’s lead singer felt unwell early in the day and was required to self-isolate until PCR testing later provided a negative result. Having received a negative test result, Ukraine’s participation in this evening’s turquoise carpet event and next week’s schedule has been given the all clear, subject to the regular protocols to which all delegations must adhere.
Yesterday, a member of the Polish delegation tested positive for covid-19, according to another EBU press release. Obligatory quarantine means the whole delegation will miss the turquoise carpet event today, and all others in the Polish team have again been PCR tested.
No information has been issued as to how the respective members of the Polish and Icelandic delegations may have contracted covid-19. Both delegations are accommodated in the same Rotterdam hotel. Icelandic Head of Press Rúnar Freyr Gíslason said to MBL:
“Yes, we are in the same hotel as the Polish group, but there has been no contact with that group and neither with other groups. We sit out for ourselves at mealtimes”Rúnar Freyr Gíslason, Icelandic Head of Press
39 countries are participating in Eurovision 2021. Australia have not sent an in-person delegation to Rotterdam. Poland and Iceland are unable to attend the turquoise carpet due to positive covid-19 test results, and EBU have just stated that Romania and Malta will also not attend the event as a precaution – we report on the details of Malta and Romania’s non-attendance here. Therefore, currently only 34 countries’ delegations will be in attendance for the Opening Ceremony.
You can watch the Turquoise Carpet from 18:00 CET on YouTube and watch our livestream at the same time, with special guests and commentary on this Opening Ceremony event!