New COVID-19 border testing regulations coming to Iceland on August 16

A file photo from the deCODE genetics laboratorium in Reykjavik, Iceland on January 12, 2021.  Scientists here work to sequence every single positive sample from those taking Covid-19 tests to determine both its strain and origin.  Starting August 16, travellers with ties to Iceland will have to undergo a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival, after 90 per cent of new infections were found to be amongst people with Icelandic personal ID numbers. (Halldor Kolbeins/AFP via Getty Images)

Iceland will implement new COVID-19 border testing regulations for some travellers starting August 16. 

The new regulation will apply to fully vaccinated travellers who have ties to Iceland. Those travellers will now be required to undergo a COVID-19 test with 48 hours of arriving in the country.

“This decision has been made in light of the importance of ensuring defences against new variants of the virus,” the government said in a news release on Monday.

“The requirement to submit a negative COVID test at the border will continue to apply, since double testing at an interval of a few days has proven to be helpful during this pandemic.”

Travellers subject to the new regulations will not be required to quarantine while waiting for the test results. The sampling will be free.

Anyone who does not get tested within 48 hours after arriving in the country, will be subject to a fine, although the amount is not specified.

Who will the new regulations apply to?

The government is defining those with “ties to Iceland” as people belonging to the following groups:

  • Icelandic citizens
  • Individuals living in Iceland
  • Individuals with an Icelandic work permit
  • Individuals applying for a work permit or for international protection in Iceland

The government said it was implementing the new recommendations as approximately 90 per cent of people infected with COVID-19 since July 1, have been people with Icelandic identification numbers.

In a separate news release on Sunday, the government said children born 2005 and later are still excluded from testing.

As of Monday, Iceland was reporting a 14- day incidence of 429.0 domestic infections per 100,000 people, and 5.7 cases per 100,000 people at the border.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: COVID-19 vaccination coverage in Nunavik, Quebec remains low at 28 per cent, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Greenland health authorities investigate four new COVID-19 cases in Sisimiut, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Santa joins former Eurovision winner Lordi at Lapland vaccination clinic to help boost jab uptake in Finland, Yle News

United States: Cruise ship arrives in Skagway, Alaska after passenger flown home with COVID-19, CBC News

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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