Greenland relaxes vaccination requirement for use of public transportation

A file photo of an Air Greenland plane approaching the town of Sisimiut in western Greenland. A ban on traveling in and out of Sisimiut and Qaqortoq expired on July 19 after infection numbers were brought under control. (Bob Strong/Reuters)

Greenland’s decision to ban un-vaccinated people from public transportation will expire after July 23, instead of July 30, as domestic infections stabilize, officials announced on Wednesday.

The move comes after a government news release said on Tuesday that the rule would be in place until the end of the month.

The regulation was put in place after it was determined that public transportation had been a key vector of infection in many of this month’s COVID-19 outbreaks.

“The pattern of this outbreak has been very clear,’ Greenland’s chief medical officer Henrik L. Hansen said on Tuesday. 

“It’s mainly unvaccinated people who become ill and it’s only unvaccinated people who have infected others. Normally we would have introduced a travel ban in this situation, as we did last year in March, but vaccinations and the new knowledge we have mean we’re recommending a much less intrusive measure and only limiting travel opportunities for those who aren’t vaccinated.”

People in several Greenlandic communities tested positive earlier this month, after cases were traced from a July 6 flight from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq.

Other requirements still in effect

There is no quarantine requirement for domestic travel in Greenland, but those flying in from outside the territory are required to quarantine five days upon arrival until they receive a negative COVID-19 test, or, if they refuse a test, are required to quarantine for the full 14 days.

Write to Eilís at 

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Outbreak declared over in Arctic Canadian city of Iqaluit, says chief public health officer, CBC News

Iceland: Iceland to require COVID-19 testing for vaccinated travellers over Delta variant concerns, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Sweden’s regions go for different strategies when vaccinating those under 18, Radio Sweden

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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