From Iceland — Pressure To Increase The Number Of Quarantine Days Between Screening At The Border

Pressure To Increase The Number Of Quarantine Days Between Screening At The Border

Published March 25, 2021

Photo by
Magnús Andersen

The founder and CEO of deCODE Genetics, Kári Stefánsson, wants to increase the number of quarantine days between the first and second tests at the border, Vísir reports.

In addition, the obligation of foreigners to receive unemployment benefits to come to the country regularly to confirm that they are still unemployed should also be abolished to reduce people coming in and out the country.

The border needs addressing

The CEO was keen to stress that the border rules need reviewing as the virus can still worm its way into the country.

“I think we have to extend the quarantine period from five days to at least seven. Because we know some examples of people coming to the country and being negative at the border.

Be negative after five days and then become positive later. So I think one of the simple methods is to extend the quarantine period by two to three days, ” says the CEO.

Reduce the flow of foreigners coming into the country

Today, unemployed foreigners from the European Economic Area with residence in Iceland can apply to confirm their benefits abroad for three months while searching for employment within the area, under certain conditions. Those looking to claim need to be entitled to full benefits and already have benefits for four consecutive weeks in this country before. Otherwise, the general rule is that a job search in Iceland must be confirmed every month between the 20th and 25th of each month.

Kári believes that by having people come into the country to claim or renew unemployment benefits brings a lot of risk to other locals.

He says: “It simply came to our notice then. Because these people are coming here on a regular basis to apply for unemployment benefits. All we have to do is take away from them the obligation to come here. It is burdensome not only for them but also dangerous for Icelandic society.”

Later today, Unnur Sverrisdóttir, the director of the Directorate of Labour, told Vísir that it was simply out of the question that anyone applying for or renewing benefits was causing any harm in the pandemic.

“Those who are receiving unemployment benefits in Iceland must, by law, be searching for jobs in Iceland,” she said. Those looking for work in the EEA but have residence in Iceland can continue receiving benefits, but only for three months, as mentioned above.

While about 180 per day, or about 5,600 per month, land at Keflavík International Airport, “The maximum number of people under our auspices, of those people who can come to the country who have been looking for work in the EEA, is 250 people. Just in March. And that will certainly not be a great many. That is about 2% to 4%, so this percentage is not very high.”

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.

Also you can get regular news from Iceland—including the latest notifications on eruptions, as soon as they happen—by signing up to our newsletter.


Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!