From Iceland — New Border Law Passes Parliament

New Border Law Passes Parliament

Published April 23, 2021

Photo by
Art Bicnick

In the early morning hours of April 22nd, after much debate, Parliament passed into law Iceland’s new pandemic response border policy.

The bill went through very few changes from its original draft to current law, RÚV reports, and the Minister of Health has the power to decide what counts as a “high-risk area” based on suggestions from the chief epidemiologist. The list of what constitutes high-risk areas will be updated every two weeks.

From now until June 30th, those who come to or return to Iceland from countries considered high-risk areas, or areas for which there is no information on the incidence of the coronavirus, must stay in quarantine housing. Exceptions may be granted if the traveler in question can satisfactorily demonstrate that they have a place to stay in the country where they can quarantine between border screenings. Applying for an exception must be done at least 48 hours before arrival.

The law does not state what the rate of incidence in any given country or territory needs to be for it to be considered a high-risk area. However, according to an announcement from April 20th on the Ministry of Health’s website, those coming from countries with an incidence of 1,000 per 100,000 or greater are considered high risk areas, and exceptions can be applied for by those coming from countries where the incidence is from 750 to 1,000.

Chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has already submitted recommendations to the Ministry of Health on border policy, so the list of high-risk area countries can likely be expected to be made public soon. Until then, the color-coded system used by European authorities would likely provide a good indication.

Our full coverage of the border policy can be read here. We will provide more current information, including what countries are considered high risk, as soon as this information is made available.

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