With international countries shutting their borders for tourism in an attempt to curb coronavirus, summer travel looked no more than a distant dream. But not anymore, as Iceland prime minister says the country will start welcoming tourists no later than June 15, of course, with new rules in place.
Iceland showcased incredible coronavirus response when it bounced back with just 1,802 cases with no new cases reported for five days now. Following this, Reykjavik Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson tweeted that Iceland will offer travellers a safe welcome starting June 15th. At the time of the announcement there were just 15 active COVID-19 cases and Iceland is clearly on the forefront of comprehensive pandemic control.
Will the 14-day quarantine continue to exist?
On March 20, Iceland closed its borders to travellers from international countries except for EEA, EFTA, EU regions and the Schengen areas. Only travellers from these regions, if their travel purpose was deemed essential, could travel to Iceland. They also had to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon their arrival in the country. But now as it seems, Iceland is slowly easing the restrictions.
Having to endure a 14-day self-isolation on a summer trip doesn’t sound pleasing, but there is a chance travellers can elude this after June 15th. In some days, Iceland will commence a trial by welcoming travellers from Greenland and the Faroe Islands without mandatory quarantine, before extrapolating the method to other nationals after June 15th. For others, however, Iceland has charted out some alternatives.
Iceland’s alternative to quarantine
Travellers need not endure quarantine under these circumstances —
- When they undergo health screening upon arrival at Kevlavík International Airport (KEF) and are tested negative. Travellers will be updated about the results on the same day. They will also be asked to install the Rakning C-19 contagion tracing app.
- If travellers check with the healthcare before departure and arrive with a clean bill of health showing negative COVID-19 results. The certificate has to be deemed authentic by Iceland health professionals.
While this move proves refreshing for Iceland tourism and for travellers worried about their summer holiday, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Will the travellers’ own home countries open borders for them? Who will fly them out while several international airlines are still on halt? A few days ago, Greece announced that the country will reopen to travellers for Summer starting July 1st, raising similar questions. Hopefully, we should wait a little longer to get the answers.