Monday, May 10, 2021

Iceland to Apply Entry Restrictions for Arrivals From More Countries

The Icelandic government has updated the criteria based on which it determines the level of COVID-19 risk for other countries and areas.

As a result, the number of countries rated as highly-risky has increased, which means that more travellers are now subject to entry restrictions as COVID-19 testing and quarantine upon arrival in Iceland, since May 7.

The update of the criteria has been announced by the Icelandic Ministry of Health and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which in a joint press release noted that in addition to the criteria on the incidence rate of infection, a new condition has been added.

So far, quarantine and COVID-19 testing at the border of Iceland are applied only to arrivals from countries where the 14-day incidence rate for new infections per 100,000 inhabitants is higher than the threshold set by the authorities.

If the incidence rate is lower than 500, arriving passengers do not have to quarantine in a quarantine facility; if it lies between 500-699, quarantine in a quarantine facility is stipulated, but an exemption can be applied for; and if the incidence rate is 700 or higher, passengers must quarantine in a quarantine facility without exemption,” the press release notes, explaining the rules in place until May 7.

Now the ratio of positive samples will also be taken into account in order to determine whether a territory or country is considered a high-risk area or not.

The decision has been taken after the authorities concluded that the rate of infections alone is not enough to assert the COVID-19 situation in an area or country, in cases when the ratio of positive samples is high, as it indicates that the community infections are more widespread than the incidence rate shows.

The update of the criteria has resulted in significant growth in the number of countries in the list of high-risk areas, mainly due to the fact that countries with an incidence rate of less than 500 but a five per cent ratio or higher of positive samples were added to the list.

The arrivals from countries with a rate of infection of  700 or higher, must unconditionally isolate in a quarantine facility. The same rules apply to arrivals from countries and areas with an incidence rate of infection is between 500-699 in which the ratio of positive samples is five per cent or higher, or if the incidence rate is higher than 500, but the ratio of positive samples is not available.

An exception from this requirement is only granted if there are pressing reasons to do so, such as the individual’s disability, level of mental development or other comparable reasons,” the Ministries explain.

Exempt from the obligation to isolate in quarantine facilities are travellers who apply for an exemption and who are able to prove that the facility where they plan to isolate meets all the conditions set by the authorities.

Since the beginning of April, travellers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are eligible to enter Iceland without being subject to quarantine. They only need to test for COVID-19 upon arrival.

Travellers who present a vaccination certificate or a certificate that proved they have been infected previously will only be required to undergo one COVID-19 test upon arrival in Iceland.



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