Following the recommendations of the Chief Epidemiologist, the Minister of Health has revised the current restrictions on arrivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. International travellers to Iceland must self-quarantine for 14 days from the day of their arrival. Temporary internal Schengen border controls will go into effect on the same day.
The outbreak largely contained
In an announcement earlier today, the government declared that beginning on Friday, April 24, international arrivals to Iceland must be quarantined for 14 days from the day of their arrival. The restriction will remain in effect until at least May 15, barring any changes in the medical and scientific advice.
These restrictions are adopted on the advice of a project group headed by the National Commissioner of Police, which was established at the request of the Chief Epidemiologist to assess COVID-19 policies. The announcement notes that even though Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist has stated that the COVID-19 outbreak in Iceland has now been largely contained – with only a few new cases diagnosed each day (seven new infections were reported today) – it is important to prevent a second wave of contagion by ensuring that the disease does not spread from other countries.
Thus far, tourists in Iceland have been exempt from quarantine rules by the rationale that they do not come into contact with vulnerable groups.
Temporary border controls established
In order to enforce the updated quarantine rules, temporary border controls for arrivals from the Schengen area have been established:
“Those passengers arriving in Iceland will be required to fill out a Public Health Passenger Locator form and present it at the border inspection point, providing necessary information regarding where they will stay in quarantine and how it will be organised,” the announcement reads.
Schengen and EU travel restrictions extended until May 15
The announcement also notes that Schengen and EU travel restrictions will be extended until May 15. Iceland had previously implemented the travel restrictions imposed for the Schengen Area and the European Union:
“As of March 20, 2020, foreign nationals – except EU/EEA, EFTA, or UK nationals – are not allowed to enter Iceland unless they can demonstrate that their travel is essential. These measures have been extended until May 15, 2020. Further information is available on the website of the Directorate of Immigration.”
Subsequent measures to be announced
A working group of officials from several ministries will be considering the subsequent steps with regard to cross-border travel. Future decisions will depend on the pandemic’s evolution in Iceland and abroad. They will also take into account other countries’ policies.