Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister of Health of Iceland, has decided to extend the application of current government regulation on quarantine, isolation and testing at the border of Iceland in connection with COVID-19 until the coming 15th of June. By then, at least 60 percent of the population, equivalent to 75 percent of those who will be called in for vaccination, is expected to have at least received the first dose of vaccine. This takes view of the opinion of the Chief Epidemiologist that it is advisable to keep testing at the border unchanged for the time being in order to be able to start lifting the testing at the border around mid-June.
The amendment to the regulation will be made that on 1st of June the compulsory stay in a quarantine facility of travellers arriving from high-risk areas will cease to apply. This is because the incidence rate of infections at the border has been steadily decreasing since the compulsory stay in a quarantine facility took effect. The number of European countries on the list of high-risk areas has also decreased. The use of quarantine facilities will therefore be as it was previously, i.e. for individuals who are obliged to undergo quarantine and who have no place to go in Iceland or who are otherwise unable or unwilling to isolate in a facility they themselves have arranged for.
The regulation banning unnecessary travel from specified high-risk areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic issued by the Minister of Justice will cease to apply on 1 June.
In this morning´s cabinet meeting it was decided that the previously announced colour-coding system at the border will not take effect. This is done because the lifting of measures at the border is anticipated to go faster against all countries, regardless of the situation of the epidemic there, since the number of those vaccinated is increasing very rapidly. Under those circumstances there is no gain in introducing a colour-coding system for only a short period of time.
The goal is that rapid tests will be used increasingly instead of PCR-tests for those leaving the country, whether they are Icelanders travelling abroad or foreign tourists who have stayed in Iceland. The work on such an arrangement is underway in the Ministry of Health and the arrangement will be presented within a few days.