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Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

All Vaccinated Passengers with “Connections to Iceland” to be Screened

Beginning on August 16, all vaccinated passengers with connections to Iceland will be required to undergo screening within 48 hours of arriving in the country.

On the advice of the Chief Epidemiologist

Following a cabinet meeting this morning, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir announced that beginning on August 16 the government will require all vaccinated passengers with “connections to Iceland” to undergo screening for COVID-19 within 48 hours of arriving in the country.

“On the advice of the Chief Epidemiologist, we will begin screening vaccinated passengers who are connected to Iceland upon their arrival,” Katrín stated in an interview with RÚV. “This means that not only those individuals who have an Icelandic ID number will be screened – as per the Chief Epidemiologist’s recommendation – but also those who have connections to Iceland.”

According to the government’s website, the latter group is defined as follows:

  • Icelandic citizens
  • Icelandic residents
  • Individuals with an Icelandic work permit
  • Work-permit applicants and those who have applied for international protection in Iceland

These individuals will be required to undergo either PCR or antigen (rapid) testing within 48 hours of arriving in the country but will not be required to self isolate as they wait for their results. The authorities will be reviewing how best to implement these measures over the next ten days.

“This wave is different”

Over the past few days, the government has also met with representatives from various trade organisations and institutions to discuss the effects of the pandemic on schooling, healthcare, culture, and sports.

Speaking to RÚV this afternoon, PM Katrín Jakobsdótter emphasised the success of the vaccination campaign in protecting against grave illness, while adding that the authorities must thoroughly review the capability of the healthcare system to contend with this newest iteration of the pandemic.

“It’s obvious that this wave of the pandemic differs from previous ones, given that we’ve got numerous new infections but fewer instances of serious illness, which is more common among the unvaccinated,” Katrín stated. According to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health has introduced proposals on how best to ensure the effectiveness of the healthcare system during this new phase of the pandemic.

Booster shots imminent

In addition to the above measures, the government has also reviewed its vaccination policy, hoping to better reach those individuals who turned down jabs. Furthermore, the authorities to expedite the process of administering booster shots to recipients of the Jansen vaccine and have decided to offer individuals in retirement homes and those who suffer from underlying medical conditions booster shots, as well.

No decision, however, has been made whether to tighten domestic restrictions nor what kind of measures will be adopted on August 13, when the current restrictions lapse. Vaccinated passengers (and those with a prior infection) born in 2004 or earlier, will still be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test (not older than 72 hours) prior to boarding a vessel to Iceland.

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