Travel Restrictions for 15 Countries Soon to Be Lifted

Icelandair airplane

The Icelandic authorities plan on lifting travel restrictions for residents of 15 countries outside the Schengen Area within the next few days. Once the regulation is adopted, citizens from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other “safe” countries will be free to travel to Iceland.

Preregistration, PCR tests and quarantine

According to current regulations (586/2020 from June 15), EU/Schengen citizens and residents are free to travel to Iceland provided that they preregister before arriving and undergo a PCR test or a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

As announced by a bulletin posted yesterday, the government of Iceland will soon lift travel restrictions for residents of fifteen states outside the EU/Schengen Area. The announcement follows on the heels of a decision made by the EU. Once the new regulation comes into effect, the following countries will be granted an exemption from travel restrictions to Iceland (the list will be reviewed at least every two weeks):

New Zealand
South Korea
China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)

All passengers arriving from these states must complete pre-registration and choose to undergo a PCR test or a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Iceland.

“Safe” countries

As noted by the EU Council, the decision to ease travel restrictions for the abovementioned countries was based on a number of scientific factors:

  • The number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants is close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020).
  • A stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days.
  • The overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.

Australia Asks Iceland to Host Eurovision in Event of Win

Eurovision Söngvakeppnin 2020 Daði Freyr Dimma

If Australia ever wins the Eurovision Song Contest, they would prefer handing over hosting duties to Iceland, Viðskiptablaðið reports. Viewed by approximately 180 million people annually, the rules of Eurovision are such that the winning country hosts the contest the following year. Australia proposed that Iceland would host Eurovision in the event that Australia won.

Australia’s request, received in May 2018 or earlier, has been discussed with both municipal and state government officials, who were positive toward the idea. The arrangement would see Australia financially responsible for the event, although a contribution of €2 million (ISK 317 million/$2.2 million) would be expected from Iceland.

Iceland has competed in Eurovision 32 times, landing in second place twice, in 1999 and 2009. Many bookies believe it could have won for the first time this year if the contest hadn’t been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Iceland’s 2020 submission Think About Things, by Daði Freyr & gagnamagnið, was a favourite among bookies.

Iceland Review followed along with Daði Freyr & gagnamagnið at Iceland’s national Söngvakeppin competition earlier this year.

Icelanders Knit for Australian Animals

Icelanders knit for Australia

Close to 100 people got together yesterday evening at Reykjavík’s KEX Hostel to knit pouches for Australian animals orphaned in the fires ravaging the country. The idea for the event came from Australian Erin Jade Turner who has been staying in Iceland since mid-December.

Erin joined forces with Icelander Pétur Oddbergur Heimisson, who hosts a regular knitting event at KEX, to organise the event. “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Icelandic people and are so thankful for the talented knitters contributing to this project,” Erin stated. “Approximately 40 knitted, sewn and crocheted items were received last night alone and we expect to receive many more in the coming weeks.”

The widespread fires have heavily impacted both animals and humans in Australia. “The day I flew out of Sydney I was wearing a mask, cause the smoke in Sydney basin was so thick and so heavy and it was raining ash,” Erin stated in an interview for Stöð 2. “We know friends and family who have been caught up in it, who have been impacted by the fires. It’s hard not to know someone who hasn’t been impacted by it.”

Knitters who would like to participate in the drive are invited to drop off their knitted pouches at KEX Hostel on February 3 between 10.00am and 8.00pm. Approved patterns and details are provided on the cause’s Facebook page.