Icelandic Government to Stop Subsidising Rapid Testing for COVID-19 Skip to content

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keflavik airport COVID-19 testing
Photo: A screenshot from RÚV. Border testing drills at Keflavík Airport, 2020..

Icelandic Government to Stop Subsidising Rapid Testing for COVID-19

On April 1, Iceland’s government will stop subsidising rapid COVID-19 testing centres, a notice from the Health Ministry states. The regulation first came into force on September 16, and allowed private parties to offer rapid testing services free of charge. Symptomatic testing will continue to be conducted at primary healthcare centres and health care institutions, free of charge.

Testing for travellers who require a COVID-19 test certificate will remain available for a fee. PCR exams at primary healthcare centres and healthcare institutions for those who require a travel certificate will cost ISK 7.000 [$54; €50], as before.

The Icelandic government’s test and trace policy was key to curbing the spread of COVID-19 during the first waves of the pandemic. It came at a hefty price tag, however: RÚV reported that between the start of the pandemic and the end of last year, the government spent over ISK 9 billion [$70 million; €63.7 million] on COVID-19 testing. The largest portion of that cost is attributed to PCR testing, followed by border testing, and then rapid testing, which was not introduced in Iceland until mid-2021.

Iceland lifted all domestic restrictions due to COVID-19 on February 25, 2022, including mandatory isolation and quarantine. While infection rates remain relatively high, hospitalisation and death rates are dramatically lower than in previous waves of the pandemic.

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