Greenland changes COVID-19 rules for travellers from Iceland, Faroe Islands

The airport in Nuuk, Greenland in 2013. Travellers from Iceland and the Faroe Islands will no longer be granted entry to Greenland without at negative COVID-19 test. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Greenland lifted its preferential treatment of travellers from Iceland and the Faroe Islands on Tuesday after COVID-19 infections spikes in both regions.

Since the territory began opening up in June, travellers must prove they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 within the last five days before being granted entry into Greenland.  

Iceland and the Faroe Islands were jurisdictions that until recently had COVID-19 infections successfully contained and were exempt from the testing requirements.

However, that was changed as of August 11.

“For a period, we did not require any testing at all for travellers coming in from Iceland,” Henrik Hansen, Greenland’s Chief Medical Officer told Eye on the Arctic. “Now, there is again active community transmission in Iceland and they have to be tested negative before departure to Greenland.”

As of Thursday, Iceland was reporting 1,976 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Faroe Islands classified under “quarantine country” after rising infections

Travellers from the Faroe Islands, which like Greenland, is an autonomous region within the Kingdom of Denmark, must now also get tested before arriving in Greenland.

“As the Faroe Islands in particular have a rapid development in the number of infected, and as there are many arrivals from the Faroe Islands, the Faroe Islands are, so far, also covered by the measures for arrivals from areas defined by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ travel guide as quarantine countries,” the Greenlandic government said in a news release on Tuesday. 

Travellers from the so-called quarantine countries must observe a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival or they can undergo a second test on day six of their arrival and if the result is negative, they are permitted to stop their self-isolation.

As of Thursday, the Faroe Islands was reporting 339 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 1,085 people waiting for test results.

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

Greenland: Greenland extends COVID-19 entry requirements until July 20, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland reinstates COVID-19 restrictions after spike in domestic infections, 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."

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