Iceland talks COVID-19 with Canada, Greenland foreign ministers

Reykjavik, Iceland. The Arctic Circle Assembly was held in the city this week. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Reykjavik, Iceland. Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands have talked about the importance of getting tourism going again in their respective regions as COVID-19 restrictions lift. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Iceland’s Ministery of Foriegn Affairs said it has spoken with foreign ministers in other North American Arctic regions this month to discuss the ongoing reponse to COVID-19.

Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson’s discussions include a conference call with Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on May 11 where they discussed the pandemic as well as ongoing cooperation with Arctic countries.

On May 18, Thordarson  had a conference call with Greenland’s Minister of Education, Culture and Foreign Affairs  Ane Lone Bagger to talk about the pandemic and the lifting of travel restrictions for Greenlanders or citizens of the Faroe Islands to travel to Iceland as of May 15. 

Both Greenland, and the Faroe Islands, an archipelago between Iceland and Norway, are part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

“The ministers agreed to stay in contact on future developments and that cooperation would be important going ahead, especially when it comes to tourism and restarting their economies,” Iceland’s Minstery of Foreign Affairs said in a news release on Wednesday.

No new coronavirus cases in several Arctic regions

Both Greenland and the Faroe Islands have had all active COVID-19 cases resolved.

An Air Greenland plane in an undated photo. The Government of Greenland has slowly been lifting travel restrictions to and from its territory. (Government of Greenland)

The Faroe Islands had a total of 187 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. There were  no hospitalizations or deaths. No new cases have been identified since April 22 and the government has gradually been lifting public health restrictions since April 8.

In all, Greenland had a total of 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases, but all people have since recovered and there’s been no new cases since the end of March.

In northern Canada, all active COVID-19 cases have also resolved.

Write to Eilis Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories around the North:

Arctic: Roundup of COVID-19 responses around the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Canada: More than 100 people refused entry to Canada’s North under COVID-19 travel bans, CBC News

Greenland/Denmark: COVID-19 could delay Kingdom of Denmark’s Arctic strategy, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Half of Finnish Lapland’s tourism businesses fear failure by winter, Yle News

Greenland: COVID-19: Arctic science expedition postpones flight campaign after trainee tests positive for virus, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Growing concern among Nordic officials over increased Arctic border traffic, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Migrants arrested in Barents Sea as they try to reach Norway, Russian security services video, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish Public Health Agency says border closures ‘won’t work’ against coronavirus spread, Radio Sweden

United States: COVID-19 pandemic raises hard questions about health disparities, says Int’l Inuit org, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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