Second Quarantine Facility Needed for Asylum Seekers Skip to content

Second Quarantine Facility Needed for Asylum Seekers

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: Screenshot, RÚV.

The quarantine facility in Reykjavík is now filled almost to capacity with asylum seekers who have arrived in Iceland over the last few weeks, RÚV reports. Plans are in the works to open a new quarantine facility in the coming days.

Around 50 people are currently in quarantine in the facility on Rauðarárstígur, two of whom have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are in isolation. All of the other occupants are applicants for asylum.

“We were prepared but were still a bit surprised at how quickly people started arriving,” said facility manager Gylfi Þór Þorsteinsson. “There are more people staying with us [at once] now than have been for the whole previous time period – in three months, we had less than a hundred people in and out here. There are a lot more now than there were the last time.”

Gylfi said that it was expected that applicants for international protection would arrive in Iceland once the borders reopened, just not so many at once.

“These people are coming from all over the world. From countries that are either at war or living in great poverty. These people have endured great hardships and are just looking for safety for themselves and their families.”

Asylum seekers are tested for COVID-19 at the border and then sent to the quarantine facility for five days, where they stay before taking another test. If they do not test positive for the virus after the second test, the Office of Immigration takes over their cases and housing.

The quarantine facilities in Akureyri, North Iceland and Egilsstaðir, East Iceland are currently empty, but a new facility is going to be opened in Reykjavík to better accommodate the current need.

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