Monday, May 24, 2021

Iceland to Remove Entry Ban & Quarantine Requirement for Travellers From High-Risk Countries

The obligatory quarantine for travellers from high-risk areas will stop being applicable from June 1, alongside non-essential travelling, which will from now on be allowed. The country’s current regulation on COVID-19 quarantine, isolation and testing restrictions is also set to remain effective until June 15, by including the new amendments.

In a press release issued by the country’s government on May 21, the Health Minister of Iceland, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, has approved the decision by aiming to vaccinate with the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine at least 60 per cent of the population by June, reports.

The Icelandic Chief Epidemiologist has also approved the decision, who also advised the government to continue testing travellers at borders so that lifting protection measures can happen in June, as planned.

The regulation’s amendment will occur on June 1, due to which the obligatory stay in quarantine for travellers from high-risk areas will stop being applicable. The number of European countries on the list of the high-risk regions has also marked a shortfall.

The use of quarantine facilities will remain the same for people who must self-isolate and for those who do not have any place to go in Iceland or are unable to arrange one according to their liking. The regulation approved by the Minister of Justice to ban unnecessary travel from high-risk areas will also cease to apply from June 1.

Since the number of vaccinations is increasing rapidly, Iceland is set to remove the colour-coding system, considering there is no gain in introducing such a system for only a short period.

Iceland intends for rapid tests to be used increasingly instead of PCR-tests for those leaving the country, regardless if the travellers are Icelanders or foreign tourists coming from the region. The work on this arrangement is underway by the Ministry of Health, and the arrangement will be presented within a few days.

Previously, Iceland had required travellers from highly affected countries to undergo quarantine upon arrival.

Based on the data provided by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Iceland has continuously registered a low COVID-19 infection rate. The country has been included on the “green countries list” of the ECDC, which means Icelanders should be permitted to travel to other countries without being obliged to test or isolate.

According to the Icelandic health department, everyone who travels to Iceland from a high-risk area and has stayed there for more than a 24-hour stay in the last 14 days is required to pre-register, whereas Icelanders are advised not to travel to COVID-19 high-risk areas.

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Iceland has registered only 6,556 COVID-19 cases of infection and 29 deaths.

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