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.
The general restrictions will go from 10 to 20 persons; sports, swimming and health centre activities will resume, with restrictions; as will stage art activities; and the ski areas can reopen. As for schools, the proximity limits at all school levels will go from 2 metres to 1 metre, and children in preschools and primary schools will again be able to partake in organised sports, youth and recreational activities. This is the gist of the relaxation of the disease prevention rules that were announced by the Minister of Health in the government’s meeting today, in keeping with the recommendations of the Chief Epidemiologist. Regulations on the changes are being drawn up and will be published later today. They are expected to remain in place for 3 weeks.
In light of the Reykjavik District Court’s decision regarding the Chief Epidemiologist’s requirement regarding an obligation for quarantining at a quarantine facility, the Chief Epidemiologist and the Ministry of Health wish to issue the following statement:
The Reykjavik District court has ruled that the provision of Article 5 of Regulation 355/2021 regarding the obligation for passengers arriving from high-risk areas to undergo quarantine at a quarantine hotel lacks a legal basis. The Ministry of Health and the Chief Epidemiologist are now reviewing the ruling. As things currently stand, the response to the ruling will be to inform those who are currently staying in quarantine hotels that they are free to finish their quarantine elsewhere if they have access to a suitable facility. However, the epidemiological authorities wish to respectfully ask those who are in quarantine at quarantine hotels to finish their quarantine there, since this is the best way to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The Ministry of Health has decided to remove mainland Spain from the Chief Epidemiologist´s list of countries identifying the countries defined as risk zones due to high notification rates of new COVID-19 infections. This is done in light of the assessment of the Ministry that the definition does not comply with the applicable regulation of the Minister of Health on quarantine, isolation and testing at the borders of Iceland because of COVID-19 even though data is lacking regarding the number of infections in one district of the country. Passengers from mainland Spain shall be subject to quarantine in private accommodation following the amendment and not in a quarantine facility.
Children born in 2005 or later shall be tested at the borders of Iceland as from the coming 1st of April.
Passengers who submit a vaccination certificate or a certificate of a prior infection will be required to undergo one test upon arrival to the country.
Travellers from certain defined risk zones shall stay in quarantine or isolated in a quarantine facility between the first and the second test.
All travellers shall preregister the date of their departure, if known, before arrival to the country.
As from the 11th of April a fee will be levied on travellers for staying in a quarantine facility.
A stricter regime of measures against the COVID-19 pandemic takes effect throughout Iceland as from midnight tonight, Wednesday 24 March 2021. Most gatherings will be limited to 10 people, not counting children born in or after 2015. Junior schools (age 6 to 16), music schools, senior schools and universities will be closed until the beginning of the Easter holidays. Activities of many types involving more than 10 participants will be prohibited. The decision by the Minister of Health to impose these tougher restrictions was based on proposals from the Chief Epidemiologist for an immediate response in view of group infections that have arisen in the country over the past few days so as to limit the spread of the virus. The new rules will remain in force for 3 weeks.
All the new group infections that have broken out in Iceland involve the ‘British’ strain of the corona virus, which is far more readily transmitted than most other variants and causes rather more serious illness. In the light of the fact that the British strain has been shown to have more serious implications for older children, the Chief Epidemiologist urged that the restrictions apply to children as young as six years old. Apart from this, the rules now taking effect are broadly similar to those imposed on 31 October last year, which proved effective in quelling the third wave of the pandemic in Iceland.
Measures to take effect 1 April and will expire at the end of the month
Iceland’s Minister of Health has decided to impose stricter border measures at the recommendation of the Chief Epidemiologist. Changes will take effect on 1 April and will affect children and those traveling from areas that are classified as dark red or grey by the ECDC (where the 14-day incidence rate exceeds 500 or insufficient data is available).
Children, who have been exempt from border measures until now, will be tested and required to quarantine (with some exceptions, see below). Travelers who have stayed in dark-red areas, in the previous 14 days, will be required to stay in quarantine facilities for the duration of the 5 day quarantine between tests. In case of a positive test, travelers will be required to stay in isolation in managed quarantine facilities.
It is now possible to register electronically for PCR test before travelling abroad where certificates of negative PCR tests for entering are a requirement. Please note that the electronic registration is only for the testing center in Reykjavík, in other areas you must contact your clinic.
You will be charged for the test since they are not a part of necessary epidemic control. Certificates are sent via email, but if a paper-certificate is required you must contact a clinic and will be charged extra.
The Minister of Health has announced changes to the measures against COVID-19 in Iceland taking effect on 18 March; these are based largely on proposals submitted by the Chief Epidemiologist. The changes mainly entail stricter demands regarding the registration of guests attending events and preventive measures to be taken at organised events. More stringent requirements are also made where buffet meals are served. The regulation setting out these changes is to remain in force until 9 April 2021.
If you have recieved a missed call from 444 2505 you can expect to be called back and you are asked to have your phone close by.
This telephone number belongs to the Covid-tracing team (smitrakning) of the Chief Epidemiologist and Civil Protection and it is not possible to call it back.
You have been contacted for one of the two following reasons,
1. The Tracing team (rakningarteymi) needs to contact you urgently to assess the need for quarantine or to provide you with important information.
2. You are in quarantine due to your recent arrival in the country. This phone call to verify that the contact information given by you at the border is correct.
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The Government of Iceland announced yesterday new loosening on COVID-19 measures. The general limit on gatherings is raised from 20 to 50, with ongoing emphasis on distancing and other personal precautions.
The new rules allow fans to attend sporting events and higher number of spectators to attend cultural events, where attendees are seated, face in the same direction, wear facemasks and the opportunities for mingling are reduced.
The maximum number of people allowed cultural, religious and sports settings, as well as shops will be 200. Bars and restaurants can stay open until 23:00, and capacity restrictions at public swimming pools and gyms have been loosened.