New Rules Could Be in Effect for Months
New rules regarding testing for the coronavirus at Icelandic borders took effect today. They require every passenger to be tested for the virus upon arrival, to spend four to five days in quarantine and then be tested again. Children born 2005 and later are exempt from testing and quarantine.
Travelers are, however, given the option of spending 14 days in quarantine instead of being tested – an option Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason spoke against being offered, since there have been instances of people failing to observe quarantine rules. Some of these individuals have infected others with COVID-19. As a result, authorities will monitor whether those who opt for the 14-day quarantine do indeed follow the rules.
In an interview last night on the news analysis program Kveikur on RÚV TV, Þórólfur was asked whether he thought the new procedures at the border would be in effect for long.
“Yes, that’s my opinion, if we want to stave off the virus, then I believe we need to do so for many months.”
He stressed the importance of incorporating all COVID-19-related procedures into a routine, instead of applying them as a crisis response now and then.
He furthermore confirmed that government authorities will start a consultation forum on the subject of the pandemic Thursday, headed by the Ministries of Health and Justice. This, he stated, is needed to decide what measures to take for the future, and those decisions are entirely in the hands of government officials.
Responding to the new rules for testing, Danish authorities are now advising their citizens against any unnecessary travel to Iceland, explaining that the new rules substantially limit travelers’ freedom of movement.
There are 16 departures scheduled from Keflavík International Airport today and 19 tomorrow. Icelandair has already canceled its flight to Copenhagen for tomorrow.