Iceland opens borders further

July 1, 2020

The government of Iceland has announced it will continue to implement the European-wide travel restrictions imposed for the Schengen Area.

Since mid-March, Iceland’s borders have been closed to residents outside of Europe.

15 New Countries Added

In the coming days, Iceland is expected to open its borders to residents of 15 countries: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. Residents of China will also be allowed, “subject to confirmation of reciprocity” — that is, if the country will open its borders to European travelers. Residents of Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican will also be allowed entry.

Officials have said that the list will be reviewed every two weeks. Countries may be added to the list if their epidemiological situation improves. A country may also be removed from the list if its situation worsens.

Further Step in Ongoing Process of Re-Opening

Iceland's borders have remained open to other European (EU and Schengen) states throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, under the condition that passengers quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

As of June 15th, European travelers to Iceland have been able to spare themselves 14 days of quarantine, by agreeing to pre-register and take a coronavirus-test on arrival.

The requirements for pre-registration and testing (or quarantine) will continue for all visitors to Iceland regardless of country of origin or residency.

Testing Process

Testing takes place inside the terminal of the international airport. Visitors are allowed to head to their accommodation, while they wait for the result of their test, which is normally delivered within 6-8 hours.

Passengers will also be asked to fill out a pre-registration form before arrival and download Iceland’s official contact tracing app, currently used by 40% of Iceland’s population. They are also encouraged to follow information on the official COVID-19 information portal www.covid.is , which hosts the most up to date information and important announcements in several languages for travelers.

Large-Scale Testing and Tracking

Since March, Iceland managed to test over 65,000 people, approximately 20 percent of the population, the largest share of any country in the world.

That has helped Iceland weather the pandemic without resorting to the near-total social and economic shutdowns enforced in many other European countries. Infected people and their contacts were quarantined, but the rest of the population was not forced to stay inside, only to be careful.

Since mid-June, only 5 new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Iceland, all from travelers that were tested on arrival. Over fifteen-thousand travelers have been tested on arrival, since the new border regulations took effect on June 15th.

Media Coverage

Iceland’s efforts to battle the coronavirus have attracted world-wide attention. In early June, the New Yorker published an article by Elisabeth Kolbert: How Iceland Beat the Coronavirus. In May, Lionel Laurent at Bloomberg Opinion wrote how Iceland Is the Perfect Coronavirus Refuge. And in late June, CNN correspondent Max Foster reported how Iceland now feels like the coronavirus never happened.

Open for Business

As of today, gatherings of up to 500 persons are permitted in Iceland and all businesses including bars, gyms and swimming pools are open. Life in Iceland is gradually returning to normal.

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