Greenland extends COVID-19 entry requirements until July 20

An undated photo of Greenland’s capital city of Nuuk. There’s been zero new COVID-19 cases since the autonomous territory started Phase 1 of its reopening on June 15, but the authorities want to wait until testing capacity is up and running in other towns outside of Nuuk before they move to Phase 2. (iStock)
With no new COVID-19 cases since passenger flights resumed June 15, Greenland is extending its entry requirements until July 20, saying they are proving effective at keeping new coronavirus infections out of the territory.

Phase 1 of Greenland’s reopening strategy started on June 15, with the autonomous territory allowing up to 600 plane passengers per week. It was contingent on the COVID-19 reproduction rate in Denmark being below one, meaning for every person with the coronavirus, less than one other person is infected.

Travellers arriving in Greenland are required to prove they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 within the last five days, they must then self-quarantine and get retested on day five of their arrival in Greenland. If they test negative, their quarantine can end.

On Thursday, the government released data that 3,850 passengers were tested since the reopening, and there have been zero positive COVID-19 cases. 

Not ready to enter phase two, says PM

However, the Greenlandic government says further vigilance is needed as nearby jurisdictions open up, before moving on to Phase 2 of Greenland’s reopening plan.

“We have chosen to do this to get the full picture of the consequences of Denmark, Iceland and the Faroe Islands’ increased opening for travellers, so we can best detect a possible infection spread,” said Greenland’s Prime Minister Kim Kielsen in a news release.

Greenland's three phase reopening plan:
Current entry requirements to Greenland include a negative COVID-19 test within the last five days and a completed localisation form called a Sumut form. Pictured here, an unnamed airport in Greenland. (Government of Greenland)
  • Phase 1: Allowing a maximum of 600 people per week to travel to Greenland once the COVID-19 reproduction rate in Denmark is below one, meaning for every person with the coronavirus, less than one other person is infected
  •  Phase 2: 1200 passengers allowed to travel to Greenland per week once with the reproduction rate in Denmark is below 0.7
  • Phase 3: No restrictions on the number of air passengers once the COVID-19 reproduction rate in Denmark falls below 0.5 and the percentage of infected Danes is less than 1 per cent of the total population.

Kielsen said he also wanted more time to acquire personal protective equipment and testing equipment that could be distributed in communities outside of the capital city of Nuuk.

“We are also still awaiting test equipment for the regional hospitals, and it is important to know when the equipment will arrive when further opening is discussed, ” Kielsen said. 

“As long as all tests continue to be analyzed in Nuuk, further opening is not appropriate as tests and quick test responses are important elements of the containment strategy,” the government added in a news release.

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

 Faroe Islands also testing
Tórshavn, the largest community in the Faroe Islands. While countries in the European Union, Norway and Iceland hasve seen their trade relations with Russia suffer because of sanctions and anti-sanctions, Faroese exports to Russia have gone up. (iStock)
Torshavn, the Faroe Islands’ capital city, in an undated photo. An aggressive testing strategy allowed the Faroe Islands to avoid the worst of the pandemic. There were 187 infections and no deaths. (iStock)

The Faroe Islands, also an autonomous territory and part of the Kingdom of Denmark like Greenland, is relying on testing on arrival as they reopen.

Since June 27, the Faroe Islands has been testing travellers when they arrive.

Testing will be free until July 10. After that it will cost  390 Danish kroner (approximately $80 CDN) for travellers arriving by plane and 500 Danish kroner (approximately $100 CDN), if arriving by ferry. 

Visitors must self-quarantine until they receive the results.

Children under 12 are exempt.

The Faroe Islands has reported 187 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, but all people have since recovered.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Inuit gov. in Labrador, Canada tells out-of-province travellers to stay away despite ‘Atlantic bubble’, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland joins other Nordic countries in virtual tourism due to pandemic, Yle News

Iceland: Iceland lowers price of on-arrival COVID-19 testing, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norwegian Arctic wilderness tourism hit particularly hard by coronavirus, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: All Russia’s North Pole cruises rescheduled to 2021, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Sweden seen as major source of COVID-19 in Western Finland region, Yle News

United States: Airline shutdown creates new challenges for rural Alaska, The Associated Press

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."

One thought on “Greenland extends COVID-19 entry requirements until July 20

  • Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 20:15

    I wish I live in Greenland. The authority here in my country seems to be just letting people got contracted the virus just for the sake of “economic growth”. Even the high leaders seems to be neglecting their own people just to save their public image, rather than to save their citizens. 🙁

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