A working group appointed by the Minister of Health to prepare for COVID-19 testing for international arrivals submitted their report yesterday. In short, the report outlines the possible implementation of testing procedures and practicalities in accordance with the criteria set by the Government. For testing to start, several issues are yet to be addressed. The report was presented to the Government this morning. The Prime Minister will oversee the process going forward.
The working group was appointed based on a proposal from the Minister of Health and the Minister of Justice to ease quarantine requirements for international arrivals, by offering testing on arrival. According to the Government's decision from 12 May, testing should be available no later than 15 June, subject to a re-evaluation of the project after two weeks.
As stated in the group's letter, the assignment was clearly delineated. Certain assumptions were used, for example, regarding the capacity of the virology department for testing and analysis, processing time, cost, and other matters.
Hildur Helgadóttir, who led the work of the project committee, presented the findings to the Minister of Health and Minister of Justice at a meeting yesterday together with other representatives of the working group and the Chief Epidemiologist. As stated in the report summary, testing on arrival is feasible, but various issues must be resolved so that border screening can start in accordance with the Government's plan.
A decision on easing quarantine requirements will be made based on the recommendations of the Chief Epidemiologist to the Minister of Health, once available.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Health requested the risk assessment of the National University Hospital and the Akureyri Hospital on the proposed easing of quarantine requirements and testing for international arrivals, which have now been made available in Icelandic.