Traveling to Iceland Post Covid-19
November 18, 2020
Iceland has been relatively successful in its response to COVID-19.
The cornerstone of Iceland’s response has been a policy of early detection, high volume testing, exhaustive contact tracing, quarantining of at-risk individuals, and isolation of infected individuals. Primary schools in Iceland have remained open, and no lockdowns have been imposed. Detailed information about the situation in Iceland – including daily statistics – can be found at www.covid.is.
An assessment by the Deep Knowledge Group based on data collected until August 23rd placed Iceland as one of the 14 safest countries in the world for Covid-19.
Iceland continues to implement the European-wide travel restrictions imposed for the Schengen Area. As of November, Iceland is open to citizens of Europe and a select list of other countries. The list of countries will be updated every two weeks.
The countries of the EU, the EEA and the UK have agreed on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes a colour code for the classifications of regions - green, orange, yellow and grey - based on the epidemiological situation there. More information is available from the Eropean Unions´s Re-open EU website.
All visitors to Iceland are required to fill out a registration form (at www.covid.is/english) prior to arrival. Visitors are also encouraged to download and use the COVID-19 app Rakning C-19 (available for Andriod and iOS). The app contains important information on COVID-19 and how to contact health care services in Iceland.
Testing on Arrival and Quarantine
Visitors to Iceland can currently choose between two quarantine options: 1) undergo a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival, quarantine for 5 days, and then get tested again; or 2) quarantine for 14 days. The first test takes place inside the terminal of the international airport, while the second test takes place at clinics across the country. Both tests are at no cost to travelers. Children born in 2005 or later are exempt from testing. The Icelandic Directorate of Health has issued detailed instructions for travelers in quarantine, available at www.covid.is.
In the Event of Positive Test Results
If a traveller tests positive upon arrival to Iceland, they may be offered to undergo further tests to determine whether or not they have an active infection. In the case of an active infection, the passenger must self-isolate. Foreign nationals who are required to self-isolate and do not have access to a suitable location, will be provided accommodation at a dedicated isolation center at no cost to them. Infected individuals must provide information to the contact tracing team on who they have come in close contact with during two days prior to the onset of their symptoms. Medical examination, treatment or medical supervision of notifiable diseases, including COVID-19, is of no cost to the patient. This does not apply to an elective PCR test for the diagnosis of COVID-19.
Restrictions introduced on November 17th, which will remain in effect until December 1st, impose a 10-person limit of larger gatherings (with certain exceptions) and instate a 2-meter social distancing rule. This applies to all businesses, workplaces, and public establishments. Where the 2-meter rule cannot be respected masks should be used, such as on domestic flights and ferries. All businesses and establishments open to the public must provide hand sanitizers, and regularly clean and disinfect their premises and equipment. Bars and restaurants must close by 9 PM.
These restrictions are updated approximately every two weeks.
Notable Recent Press Coverage
The New York Times published an article in its Travel section on October 13th by Paige McClanahan titled Iceland Tourism Prepares for a Comeback. Given the importance of tourism to Iceland’s economy, government and industry are working together to prepare for the eventual lifting of travel restrictions.