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.

Article on Mosque Attacks Closed for Commenting Due to Hate Speech

keyboard computer typing

The Icelandic news outlet Vísir disabled commenting on an article about last week’s attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand after multiple comments were posted that applauded the acts of terrorism. Stundin reports that the comments were made by Icelanders using their own names. Vísir disabled commenting with the simple note: “Commenting on this article is closed due to hate speech.”

Among the comments on the article were several that commended the person responsible for the atrocities. “Well done,” wrote one commenter. “This is self defense. People haven’t forgotten how many Islam has killed in Europe.” Another commenter who celebrated the attacks was identified as a person who regularly comments on news articles related to Muslims and immigration issues.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Thórdarson sent their condolences to New Zealand following the attacks.

“Shocked and heartbroken over the senseless violence in #Christchurch,” wrote Katrín in a Tweet. “Dear @jacindaardern, I send you my deepest sympathies and all the light in the world from the people of Iceland.”

“We are deeply saddened by the horrifying terrorist attack in #Christchurch,” wrote Guðlaugur Þór. “Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and the people of New Zealand.”

At the time of writing, the death toll in the mosque attacks was 49 dead and 42 injured, with a four-year-old child in critical condition.