From Iceland — COVID-19 Travel Certificates: Grace Period Over

COVID-19 Travel Certificates: Grace Period Over

Published February 26, 2021

John Pearson
Photo by
Mufid Majnun via Unsplash

Travellers arriving in Iceland yesterday were the first to feel the full force of the recently tightened pandemic border restrictions.

Vísir reports that one passenger was fined 100,000 ISK at Keflavík airport for inadequate COVID-19 certification, while another was refused entry to the country and had to fly back out.

Currently the regulations state that incoming passengers must present a negative PCR test, issued within 72 hours of their arrival. They must then undergo a further test at the airport and five days of quarantine, followed by a third test. More details, and certain exemptions, are available at the Icelandic government’s website.

Arriving passengers are exempt from the above process if they have certification that they have recovered from COVID-19, or if they have been vaccinated against the disease. More detail on that is given here by the Icelandic Directorate of Health.

The requirement for a pre-travel PCR test was implemented a week ago. However, to allow information of the changes to reach travellers, fines and refusals of entry were not enforced until yesterday. Around 14% of arrivals had insufficient documentation of the pre-travel test during the past week.

Civil defence chief Víðir Reynisson pointed out yesterday that the 72-hour period of validity for the PCR test was more generous than that required by many other countries. He also expressed hope that the new sanctions will encourage people to work with the system to keep everyone safe. “Yes, I think that from today onwards it is quite obvious that it is always the best option to get a certificate,” he said.

The border policy is set to change again on May 1st 2021, when Iceland will adopt a new system operated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention.

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