The Minister of Health has decided that testing of travellers for COVID-19 at Iceland’s borders is to be free of charge, on a temporary basis, from 1 December 2020 until 31 January 2021. This is in line with recommendations from the Chief Epidemiologist. The aim of the move is to encourage people to be tested rather than to commit to a period in quarantine, so reducing the likelihood that they will bring the infection with them into the country. The matter was discussed and approved at a cabinet meeting on 17 November.
In his memo to the minister, the Chief Epidemiologist expressed his concern that the recent escalation in the spread of the pandemic abroad will increase the risk of imported infection if travellers choose quarantine but then fail to observe the rules in full. There have been many cases where suspicion regarding the emergence of new infections in Iceland has involved tourists who have only intended to spend short periods in Iceland. In response to this, it was proposed either than all persons entering the country be obliged to undergo a screening test at the border, unless medical considerations rule this out, or else that the fee for border testing be dropped.
The minister’s decision on free tests at the border will take effect on 1 December and remain in force until 31 January 2021.