Reopening of Iceland’s Borders Approaches

Vala Hafstað

“No one knows how to open borders following a pandemic,” Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated at a press conference yesterday, Morgunblaðið reports. Iceland will be opening its borders Monday, June 15, when travelers from the Schengen area will have the option of being tested for the novel coronavirus instead of spending 14 days in quarantine, as is currently required.

Þórólfur stated that since no one knows how common the disease is among tourist, the testing project will be a kind of research project, constantly reassessed. At some point, the testing of passengers from certain countries could be reduced or ceased.

“If the number of cases turns out to be high, stricter rules may have to be adopted at the border,” he added. He stressed that no health certificates from abroad would be accepted, since they would slow down the process at the border. He had previously explained that no official international certificates regarding COVID-19 are yet available.

The first flight expected from abroad once the new rules take effect will arrive at Keflavík International Airport early Monday morning. It is not clear how many tourists will arrive in the coming weeks. Between 30 and 100 passengers will be on board the first few flights expected Monday.

Tourists will be encouraged, not required, to download the tracing app Rakning C-19 upon arrival. The app helps authorities trace the source of transmissions. A new version of the app will be ready by Monday. It will be available in seven languages - Icelandic, English, Polish, German, French, Spanish and Italian - the last four to be added for the first time. 

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