Testing for international arrivals could start in June​

Testing for international arrivals could start in June​
Photo: Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson - arctic-images.com

The Government of Iceland announced yesterday that it expects to start easing restrictions on international arrivals no later than June 15th. Instead of a two-week quarantine, travelers are expected to be given the choice of being tested for the virus upon arrival, or otherwise prove that they are free of the corona-virus infection.

From 15 May some professionals arriving in Iceland including scientists, filmmakers and athletes will be eligible for a modified quarantine. The exact details of the revisions will be decided by the Government’s multisector working group, however it is expected they will give travelers the choice between a test for the virus on arrival or a two-week quarantine. 

Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation says: "When travellers return to Iceland we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic. Iceland's strategy of large-scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far. We want to build on that experience of creating a safe place for those who want a change of scenery after what has been a tough spring for all of us."

Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, says: “Although Iceland is an island, it has always thrived through international trade and cooperation. With only three cases of the virus diagnosed in May, we are once again ready to carefully open our doors to the world. While we remain cautious, we are optimistic as a country that we can successfully begin our journey back to normality."

In Iceland from 15 May, professionals and others traveling to Iceland for work may be eligible for modified quarantine. Essential workers and those working on vital infrastructure projects that cannot be safely postponed have already been able to apply for modified quarantine with specific limitations and criteria, and this will now also apply to a wider array of professions including scientists and academics, film makers and athletes. Modified quarantine allows companies to request an exemption from home quarantine provided they comply with extensive requirements around their environment and enact safety procedures. Eligibility for modified quarantine was extended to journalists on 7 May. 

No later than 15 June 2020, travelers are expected to be given a choice between a two-week quarantine or being tested for the virus upon arrival, or otherwise proving that they are free of coronavirus infection. Exact requirements are still being developed but travelers will likely be required to download and use the official tracing app already in use by 40% of the population in Iceland. The app has been developed following the strictest privacy standards, with location data stored locally on the user's device unless released for tracing purposes in case of an infection.

Final details on the easing of quarantine requirements for travellers will be announced by the end of May. 

With only three infections confirmed in May, Icelandic authorities are keen to maintain the progress made so far in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing and tracing measures for travelers will be frequently reviewed to ensure that the pandemic remains under control and all measures will take into account the status of the pandemic and travel restrictions in place in other countries. These measures do not preclude the option of bilaterally opening borders between coronavirus-free countries.

While Iceland’s borders have remained open to other Schengen countries throughout the pandemic, quarantine measures for all international arrivals have been in place in Iceland since 24 April, and all Icelandic nationals and all residents arriving from high-risk areas have been required to quarantine for two weeks since January. Iceland will continue implementing travel restrictions imposed for the Schengen Area and the European Union, which are currently due to remain in place until 16 May. 

For more details about the current quarantine restrictions please see the following links: 


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