General restrictions on numbers will be 2,000 persons, the mask requirement will be lifted, the opening hours of restaurants will be extended by one hour and the registration obligation for guests will be lifted while 1-metre distance rule will continue to apply. These are the main amendments to the regulation on social gatherings that have entered into force by decision of the Minister of Health. The aim is to abolish all restrictions on social gatherings due to COVID-19 in Iceland as of November 18.
The requirement that individuals with ties to Iceland must present a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in Iceland will be abolished. Connecting passengers who do not leave the border station will also be exempt from presenting such a certificate. Individuals with ties to Iceland, except children born in 2005 or later, will still have to undergo testing after arrival.
This is the main content of the changes made to the COVID-19 restrictions at the border that were determined by the Minister of Health in line with the recommendations of the Chief Epidemiologist. These restrictions are expected to be in force until 6 November.
The restrictions on the number of people who are allowed to gather in one location will in principle continue to be 200 and the rules requiring social distancing of at least one metre and mask wearing are unchanged. However, public swimming pools and health and fitness facilities are permitted to run at maximum capacity subject to the conditions of their operating licenses. The requirement of maintaining a distance of at least one metre is abolished at sports events and stage art events in addition to further relaxations detailed below. The Minister of Health presented these changes at a government meeting this morning and they are in keeping with the Chief Epidemiologist’s recommendations. A corresponding regulation takes effect on the 28th of August and is applicable until the 17th of September.
On the 16th of August a new regulation came into effect which stipulates that travellers with ties to Iceland must, despite presenting a certificate of vaccination against COVID-19 or a certificate of previous infection, undergo either a rapid antigen test or a PCR test to diagnose COVID-19 in the next two days from arrival in the country. This also applies to children born in 2015 and earlier with ties to Iceland, whether they travel alone or with others. This test is free of charge. Travellers with connections to Iceland are e.g. Icelandic citizens or residents with a residence or work permit in Iceland, incl. applicants for such permits and their families, applicants for international protection and individuals who come to the country to work or study for longer than seven days, and their families.
All travellers must pre-register before arrival and in the pre-registration, the traveller specifies whether he has ties to Iceland and then receives a bar code for testing. You can choose between a PCR test at Keflavík airport or an antigen test with the primary care service at Suðurlandsbraut 34 or certain testing centers outside the capital area.
Booster vaccinations for COVID-19 for individuals who have been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine without a history of previous COVID infection.
The goal of vaccinating individuals 16 years and older against COVID-19, which was set when the vaccination campaign began at the end of December 2020, has been achieved, as almost 90% of individuals of this age in Iceland have been vaccinated. Primary vaccination continues for those who have not already received the vaccination and those who move to the country unvaccinated or reach the age to receive vaccination according to marketing authorisation and the recommendation of the Chief Epidemiologist. The supply of vaccines according to delivery plans based on agreements made on behalf of the nation allows for consideration to be given to enhancing the response of certain groups through booster vaccination.
In week 33 the aim is to vaccinate the following groups:
Second vaccination for those who received a first dose of Pfizer in July.
Booster doses for those who were vaccinated with Janssen at least 28 days ago. Those who have antibodies after recovering from COVID-19 infection and have received a Janssen booster dose do not need to show up for another Pfizer booster dose.
Invitations will be sent out for these groups, and people are kindly requested to wait to show up at the time specified in the invitation.
Iceland’s Minister of Health has decided, in accordance with the recommendations of the Chief Epidemiologist, to extend the current regulation on restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19 by two weeks. The general limit of gatherings will be 200 persons and one metre social distance rule will remain in place.
As of August 16, vaccinated passengers with ties to Iceland must undergo testing within 48 hours of arrival in Iceland.
Individuals with ties to Iceland are:
Individuals domiciled in Iceland
Individuals who have an Icelandic work permit
Applicants for a work permit or international protection in Iceland
These passengers will not be required to enter into quarantine until after the results of the testing are available.
The Ministry of Health has amended Regulation no. 747/2021 that will limit access to quarantine facilities in Iceland. Recently, there has been a lot of strain on the quarantine facilities but the new regulation places emphasis on using the facilities first and foremost for people that need to go in isolation.
In light of a surge in COVID-19 infections in many areas of the world, residents of Iceland are advised not to travel unnecessarily to defined risk areas. Currently are all countries and territories of the world except Greenland. Whether countries fall under risk areas is regularly reassessed and the Chief Epidemiologist does not consider it timely to change risk areas presently. A large proportion in many areas is still unvaccinated. Among the unvaccinated, infection is widespread, but vaccinated individuals are also infected and they can infect others, even if vaccination protects the individual against serious illness.
As of Sunday 25 July, general limit of gatherings in Iceland will be 200 persons and social distancing rules will take effect again. These are the main measures introduced in a new regulation from the Minister of Health regarding restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19. The regulation will be in place for a short period of time while the large increase in infections in recent days are being addressed. These measures are in line with the Chief Epidemiologist’s recommendations.
The Chief Epidemiologist directs the recommendation to those who have been vaccinated or have a history of previous COVID-19 infection and who live in Iceland, or have a social network here, to undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival in Iceland despite a negative PCR- or antigen test, taken before departure
As of 27 July, all vaccinated persons and those that can present a certificate of a prior COVID-19 infection must present a negative PCR or antigen (rapid) test that is no more than 72 hours old before departure to Iceland. This decision by the Minister of Health is based on recommendations from the Chief Epidemiologist.
Furthermore, residents of Iceland and others that have widespread social ties in the country are encouraged to get tested as soon as possible after arriving in Iceland, even though they are asymptomatic.
The Minister of Health has decided to amend the disease prevention rules at the borders applicable as of the 1st of July to the 15th of August.
- Social distancing, limits on gatherings, mask-wearing, limits on opening hours are all removed as of midnight
- 87 percent of the adult population has received at least one dose of a vaccine
- Iceland maintained a policy of test, trace, quarantine and isolation from the outset of the pandemic and relied on the science to guide its response
- More than 60 per cent of domestic cases were individuals who were already in quarantine at the time of diagnosis.
-Vaccinated travellers who submit valid vaccination certificates or certificates of prior infections will not need to be tested at the border from 1 July
The Government of Iceland has announced that all domestic restrictions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted as of midnight tonight. Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir announced this morning that requirements to wear masks, socially distance and restrict gatherings would be fully lifted.
As the vaccinations of susceptible individuals for COVID-19 are far along, it is time to offer vaccination to those with a history of COVID-19 or antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, to enhance protection against re-infection.
The Janssen vaccine will be used for this group, except for individuals who should receive the Pfizer vaccine due to their young age or pregnancy.
If fewer than 3 months have passed since the confirmed COVID-19 infection, it is recommended to postpone vaccination until after that time.
A pilot program has been launched to accept the Excelsior Pass Opnast í nýjum glugga at the Icelandic border from passengers flying from New York. The Excelsior Pass is a free voluntary digital health pass developed by New York State in partnership with IBM and currently available to New Yorkers to verify their COVID-19 vaccination or test results.
The results of the pilot program will possibly be used to allow Iceland to accept and verify health credentials from the IBM Digital Health Pass platform.
Employees / residents of foreign origin who stay in Iceland for a longer or shorter period of time are welcome to get vaccinated once they have been registered.
Due to problems that have arisen regarding the registration of individuals with a system ID number or without an Icelandic ID number, instructions have been prepared that can be read here.
Information on the registration of individuals will be sent to the employer, the Advisory Center for Immigrants and ASÍ.
The Minister of Health has decided, in keeping with the recommendation of the Chief Epidemiologist, to retain the current measures to contain the spread of infections at the borders until 1 July. After that time, the measures will be relaxed by cease the screening of those who present a certificate of vaccination or prior infection with COVID-19. Additionally, children will no longer be screened for COVID-19 upon arrival in Iceland.
As of 15 June, general limit of gatherings will go from 150 persons to 300 persons and the distance rule will be one metre instead of two. There will be no distance rules at sit-down events, but everyone in attendance will be required to wear a face mask. The opening hours of restaurants will be extended by one hour, i.e. they will be able to stay open until midnight. These measures are in line with the Chief Epidemiologist’s recommendations.
Nearly 200 thousand people have received at least one dose of vaccine and more than 100 thousand people are fully vaccinated. Over 90 percent of people aged 50 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine, as well as almost 50 percent of those younger than 50 years old. The Chief Epidemiologist has stated that Iceland still have some way to go before herd immunity among younger people has been reached. As a result, domestic measures must be slowly eased to prevent the spread of the disease until a larger percentage of younger people has been vaccinated.
The main changes to the restrictions on gathering as of 15 June:
The general limit of gatherings will be 300 persons. Children born in 2015 and after will continue to be exempt.
The distance rule will be 1 metre instead of 2 metres.
Sit-down events: No distance requirement. The requirement to wear a face mask will remain in force and likewise the rule of having no more than 300 persons in each disease prevention compartment. “Sit-down events” means theatre shows, sports events, activities of religious and philosophical organisations, conferences and similar events.
Restaurants: The opening hours of restaurants will be extended by one hour, from the previous 23:00 to midnight. Guests shall have left the restaurants by 01:00.
Period of validity: The Regulation providing for these changes to the restrictions on gatherings will remain in force until Tuesday 29 June.
A trial project is being undertaken for the reception of a European digital COVID-19 certificate at the borders of Iceland for those arriving to the country. The first passengers carrying such certificates arrived to the country yesterday.
The certificate will be applicable in all EU Member States as well as in Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. It will be available in paper format as well as digital format by downloading it to a mobile phone. Security and verifiability of the certificates has been emphasised and both formats will contain a QR-code. The certificate is also free of charge and in both Icelandic and English.
EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) has recommended granting an extension of indication for the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty to include use in children aged 12 to 15. The vaccine is already approved for use in adults and adolescents aged 16 and above.
Comirnaty is a vaccine for preventing COVID-19. It contains a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) with instructions for producing a protein, known as the spike protein, naturally present in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine works by preparing the body to defend itself against SARS-CoV-2.
The use of the Comirnaty vaccine in children from 12 to 15 will be the same as it is in people aged 16 and above. It is given as two injections in the muscles of the upper arm, given three weeks apart.
As from the 31st of May the provision stipulating a compulsory stay in quarantine facilities for people arriving from specific high-risk areas ceases to apply. As from that time, only those who do not have access to adequate facilities to undergo home quarantine are required to stay in a quarantine facility. Those arriving from specific high-risk areas on the 29th and 30th of May can apply for authorisation to dwell in home quarantine during the entire compulsory quarantine period. Those arriving before the 29th of May are required to go to a quarantine facility and finish the quarantine period there. All those arriving to Iceland who are required to undergo quarantine still have to pre-register the intended dwelling place. The Minister of Health has issued a regulation thereon which enters into force on the 31st of May.
As was made known following the government meeting on the 21st of May, the Minister of Health has decided to extend the application of the regulation on quarantine and isolation and testing at the border of Iceland in connection with COVID-19 to the 15th of June. The decision of the Minister to repeal the provision of the regulation on compulsory stay in quarantine facilities, as noted above, was also announced.
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.
A new regulation by the Minister of Health on quarantine and isolation and COVID-19 testing at the Icelandic border will take effect on Tuesday 27 April. The regulation introduces obligation for arriving passengers to stay in a quarantine facility if they come from countries with high infection rate of COVID-19 as defined by the regulation. The Icelandic authorities will regularly issue a list of high-risk countries, which will be updated as needed.
Those who come from defined high-risk areas will be obliged to quarantine in a quarantine facility unless exempted by the Chief Epidemiologist. No exemptions will be granted to those arriving from regions or countries where the 14-day incidence rate exceeds 700 per 100,000 population. High-risk areas are defined as regions or countries where the 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population exceeds 500 or more or from where sufficient information is not available.
The Government of Iceland has announced temporary border measures to counter the domestic spread of COVID-19. These measures aim to create conditions to allow lifting domestic restrictions as much as possible. The vaccination programme in Iceland is continuing at pace, and as more people become vaccinated, conditions for easing restrictions will become more favourable, both within society and at the border.
The Minister of Health will submit a bill to the Althingi Parliament to amend the current legislation to give a legal basis to the measures announced today.
Stay in a quarantine facility: The authorities can decide that from April 22 to May 31, passengers arriving from countries where the 14-day infection rate exceeds 1,000 cases per 100,000 population need to stay in a quarantine facility.