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How does isolation work?

Isolation is for those who have a confirmed COVID-19 infection. In such case, you will need to follow the rules on isolation at home and remain at home or in a place designated by the Department of Civil Protection and the healthcare centre at each location. Healthcare professionals will be in regular contact with you while you are in isolation. More than one person who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 may reside together in isolation. Landspítali University Hospital has issued good advice for people in isolation.

Isolation is a stricter measure than quarantine and places, therefore, increased requirements on the person in isolation, in excess of on the person in quarantine. People are discharged from isolation by the healthcare professionals at the Landspítali University Hospital. There is no PCR-test at the end of isolation. Messages are sent regarding discharge from isolation.

Length of isolation

Isolation lasts for 7 days from a positive PCR test. That counts as day 0. Those who are still symptomatic need to isolate for longer but a doctor in the Landspítali University hospital makes that decision.


A PCR-test gives a positive result on a Monday, isolation is 7 whole days and finishes on midnight on Monday evening a week later. Those who are still symptomatic need to isolate for longer but a doctor in the Landspítali University hospital makes that decision.

Individuals in isolation:

May not leave the home.
Must stay completely away from other people.
May not see friends or family.
May not go to work.
May not go for a walk.
May not use public transport.
May seek necessary healthcare but must contact the healthcare centre first.
Call 112 in emergencies.

Ending isolation

To reduce the risk of infecting others, follow the instructions below:

Clean your living space with soap and water, such as the floor, tables, chairs, faucet, sink, toilet and doorknobs.
Disinfect other surfaces and items that are touched regularly, such as telephones, remote controls and cosmetics.
Wash all used clothing and other items such as towels and bedding.
Take a shower and wear clean clothes after cleaning and before leaving the house.
Avoid close contact with others for the next two weeks. Continue to wash your hands thoroughly and use disinfectant and a mask as instructed on Particular care must be taken in dealing with vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with chronic illnesses and infants.

Specific cases

Cohabitants who are all isolated together: Once the first member of the group recovers, they may be discharged from isolation (as provided for above), on the condition that the remaining members remain in isolation. It is important that the discharged individual cleans themselves thoroughly before leaving the home. It must also be ensured that clothing and other items that are taken out of the home are unpolluted and have not been handled by those who are still in isolation. It is important that all members of the household clean themselves and the home thoroughly before the isolation is lifted for everyone. Cohabitants applies to everyone in the same household, including children.
Other members of the household may be in quarantine in the same location if they prefer not to leave the home. In such case, they must limit contact with the individual in isolation as much as possible. If more individuals within the household fall ill, the period of time for which other members of the household need to be in quarantine shall be extended.
A quarantine that takes place in a home where someone is in isolation ends with a negative result from testing after isolation has been lifted. The household members can then expect quarantine for a day longer than isolation lasts. It is possible to shorten quarantine, but in order to fulfill the conditions for shortening the quarantine to 5 days, there must be a complete separation between the individual in isolation and the individual in quarantine.
Healthcare professionals: The same rules apply to healthcare professionals as to everybody else. Account should be taken, however, of the tasks each person performs when they return to work (vulnerable groups). A doctor and supervisor assess the situation on a case-by-case basis.

Easily readable information on the coronavirus can be found here. The information was prepared by the National Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

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