COVID-19 in Iceland: All Travellers Required to Present Negative Test Before Boarding Skip to content

COVID-19 in Iceland: All Travellers Required to Present Negative Test Before Boarding

By Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir

Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir
Photo: Ministry of Health. Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir.

In a response to the recent increase in COVID-19 infections in Iceland, the Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir has decided to require all travellers to Iceland to present a negative COVID test before entering the country. This is based on Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason’s recommendations. This includes all vaccinated individuals as well as those confirmed to have contracted and recovered from COVID-19. The tests must be PCR or antigen tests and may be no older than 72 hours, the Minister of Health has announced.

Though it is not an official requirement, residents of Iceland as well as people with personal connections in the country are advised to get tested upon arrival, even if they don’t present any symptoms. 

The Chief Epidemiologist’s latest memo, discussed at the government’s meeting today, states that COVID-19 infections have increased considerably in Iceland. Most cases are of the Delta variant. According to research, fully vaccinated individuals can contract COVID-19 and infect others. The Chief Epidemiologist believes that the current mode of operation will increase the risk of transmission and that it is necessary to take action to curb virus entry at the border in order to eliminate the need for implementing domestic restrictions. Icelandic authorities lifted all domestic restrictions on June 26, 2021. 

Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir has decided that the border restriction changes will take effect July 26. For unvaccinated travellers, restrictions remain the same. They need to present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours upon boarding, are tested upon arrival, and must quarantine for five days before being tested again. Children born in 2005 or later are exempt from all border restrictions.

Yesterday, 16 tested positive for the virus, bringing the total of active cases to 124. A total of 385 are in quarantine. One person is in hospital but according to Runólfur Pálsson, head of the National Hospital’s COVID department, they are not seriously ill. So far, very few of the individuals infected are experiencing severe symptoms, as most are fully vaccinated.

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