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Iceland, faced with increasing Covid-19 infection rates, is implementing new arrival requirements from August 19, 2020.

All passengers are required to take two Covid-19 tests 4-5 days apart and quarantine until they receive negative results. Alternatively, those that don’t wish to take any tests can choose to isolate for two weeks.

Here’s the current data from the ECDC:

Iceland’s current Covid-19 trajectory:

Here’s the announcement from Iceland’s Ministry of Health:

The Government of Iceland has decided to impose more comprehensive border-screening measures as of 19 August. All arriving passengers must then choose between a 14-day quarantine and a double testing procedure along with a quarantine for 4-5 days.

The decision is one of a range of options outlined by the Chief Epidemiologist, in response to the recent cluster of infections in Iceland and the rise of infections .

The double border-screening procedure requires all passengers arriving in Iceland to undergo two PCR-tests: one upon arrival and another 4-5 days later to minimize the risk of a false negative causing infection to spread in the community. During this period, all arriving passengers must stay in quarantine in case of a possible infection. Those who test negative in the second PCR-test are no longer required to take special precautions. Those who test positive must self-isolate. Alternatively, arriving passengers can choose to stay in 14-day quarantine without undergoing any tests. Children born in 2005 and later are exempt from the double border-screening procedure.

All arriving passengers are still required to preregister before arrival. Adherence to the rules of preregistration will now be further enforced.

Since 23 July, two new clusters of infections have been identified in Iceland. One was almost immediately contained, and the rate of infection for the other one has slowed down significantly. Iceland’s 14-day domestic incidence is now 21 per 100 thousand inhabitants, down from 27 one week ago. Currently, there are 112 active infections, 642 are self-quarantined, and one is hospitalised.

“Given the uptick in infections worldwide and the widespread effect that a small infection can have on the functioning of our society, the Government has decided to strengthen our border-screening measures to further limit the number of infections entering the country. These measures will be reviewed and revised according to how the situation develops, both domestically and internationally,” says Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir. “However, we know that there is no way of eliminating the risk of infection. We are confident that our well-established measures of testing, tracing, and isolating, will continue to serve an important role, along with effective early treatment of all patients.”

“We will continue to monitor the trends in Europe and elsewhere very closely and adjust our recommendations accordingly, both as regards border measures and preventive social measures,” says Thórólfur Gudnason, Chief Epidemiologist. “Unfortunately, the pandemic is on the rise again in Europe but we are yet to see how severe the impact of this second outbreak will be, now that we have much better information and improved treatment options to combat the pandemic.”

Iceland implements the EEA/Schengen travel restrictions. Further information on travel restrictions, exemptions and documentation that may be required before departure or on arrival in Iceland is available on the website of the Directorate of Immigration.

Conclusion

Iceland hopes that this won’t affect incoming tourism numbers, but difficult to see how it wouldn’t. Doubt that many can first quarantine for close to a week upon arrival to wait for results from these Covid-19 tests.

Iceland, like many other countries, found that once they relax travel restrictions, the infection rates rise, and more restrictions are implemented to combat the spread.

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