Vaccinated tourists from the US and UK will be able to visit Iceland beginning March 18 without having to quarantine or take a test for COVID-19. By Cailey Rizzo
During the pandemic, Iceland’s borders have been closed to visitors from outside Europe’s Schengen zone. But this week, the Icelandic government announced that it will open borders to travellers outside the Schengen zone who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19.
Anyone will be allowed entry whose vaccine has been approved by the European Medicines Agency, which includes Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson. However, those from certain countries, like Russia for example, will have to wait for entry to Iceland until their vaccine (Sputnik V) has been approved by the agency. But it’s only a matter of time. Iceland Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir told reporters that “clearly, it will soon qualify.”
“Our experience and data so far indicate very strongly that there is very little risk of infection stemming from individuals who have acquired immunity against the disease, either by vaccination or by prior infection,” Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist Thórólfur Gudnason said in a statement on Tuesday. “When people are protected against the same disease, with the same vaccines that are produced by the same companies, there is no medical reason to discriminate on the basis of the location where the jab is administered.”
Iceland has required a negative PCR test to enter the country since February 16. A five-day quarantine period and an additional test at the border were also required, but Europeans with the vaccine were exempt from the measures.
Beginning May 1, Iceland will begin using a risk assessment colour code at its borders to open up to even more travellers. Arrivals from low-risk areas (which will be coded green and yellow) will not be required to quarantine if they can present a negative PCR test at the border.