Quarantine regulations will be eased for individuals who have both been fully vaccinated and received a booster, as well as for fully vaccinated people who have recovered from a previously confirmed COVID infection. The changes were announced by Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson on Friday on the government’s website.
Willum Þór made the decision to loosen regulations on the recommendation of Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason, who cited research from the UK and Denmark that indicates that fully vaccinated and boosted individuals are much less likely to become infected with COVID, particularly the delta strain. The research shows that boosted individuals are also less susceptible to omicron infection, although vaccination has been shown to be less effective against omicron than delta.
The new quarantine regulations for boosted and fully vaccinated/previously infected individuals will go into effect immediately.
It is hoped that the easing of quarantine regulations will make a significant impact in boosting the economy and making day-to-day life easier in Iceland, where around 160,000 people—roughly 43% of the population—has received a COVID 19 booster.
“We need to keep society going as much as possible,” said Willum Þór, “whether we’re looking at schools, welfare services, or various economic activities. As it stands now, this response is absolutely necessary.”
Per the announcement on the government’s website, qualifying individuals who are otherwise subject to quarantine are now:
- permitted to go to work and/or seek out necessary services, such as health services, as well as go to grocery stores and pharmacies, and use public transportation
- not permitted to attend gatherings or locations where there are 20 or more people present except in the specific instances mentioned above
- required to wear a mask when in the company of anyone except their closest contacts (i.e. family or people they live with); masks are required even when a distance of two metres is observed
- not permitted to visit healthcare institutions such as nursing homes without special permission from the institution in question
- required to avoid contact with persons who have a high risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19
Qualifying individuals are expected to observe quarantine under the above protocols for five days; their quarantine ends on Day 5, provided that they receive a negative result on a PCR test. Individuals who notice symptoms of COVID during their five-day quarantine are urged to get a PCR test without delay. Quarantine remains a minimum of five days.