Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir has said that travelers from the USA are unlikely to be admitted into Iceland when Schengen’s outer border is opened on July 1st. “Of course, it is [un]likely given the number of infections there now, and the development that is taking place in the country,” she said.
Generally speaking, Americans have not been allowed to travel to countries within the Schengen Area since March, and it does not appear that this will change when the outer borders open. Chief Epidemiologist Þórolfur Guðnason believes that it would be a health hazard to allow American tourists into the country.
“We know that the spread is highest in the US, and it’s high in Brazil and India, so I think we have to be careful,” Þórolfur said. “I would be very worried about it if we were going to be open to that possibility.”
He also said that he is not sure what would need to change to make him feel safe welcoming travelers from the USA. “There are many nations trying to find some formula to assess the risk of carrying the virus from various regions,” he said.
An important provision is that Icelanders will still be allowed to visit the US. “Reciprocity is not least of all important, but we haven’t gotten any indications from the US on what they intend to do and what the next steps will be there,” Áslaug said.
CEO of Icelandair Bogi Nils Bogason said that the company has had to change its flight schedule since there is no expectation of travelers from the USA. “In mid-June, we had a plan to significantly increase US flights from July 1, but we have now reduced them,” he said. The airline was planning to add six destinations in the United States to their itinerary. As of this writing, they will continue flying to Boston and add Seattle in the near future.
He also said that the airline had planned for this contingency. “This is not a surprise from what we were looking at in spring,” he said. “We always expected to need to work this very dynamically.”
At a public safety briefing yesterday, June 24th, it was revealed that only two active infections have been identified at the border screening stations over the past week. Other screenings that tested positive were from people who had already recovered from the virus, and posed no threat of infection. The screening is likely to continue until at least the end of July.
As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s excellent COVID-19 help page.
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