Greenland announces COVID-19 reopening plan

An undated photo of Greenland’s capital city of Nuuk. (iStock)

Greenland’s government announced its reopening plan on Friday, saying it would gradually increase travellers to the island at the same it bolsters its vaccination program. 

“The starting point for the long-term reopening plan is to keep Greenland as free from infection as possible, while at the same time taking into account the wishes of citizens and the business community for better connections abroad,” the government said in a news release.

Starting September 6, the government upped the number of passengers allowed to travel to Greenland from Copenhagen to 1,500 from 1,000 per week. It is also allowing up to 180 passengers to travel to Greenland from Iceland.

This will stay in place until the end of the month.

Starting October 1, no more passenger limits will be imposed.

Testing, quarantine, and re-testing requirements remain until December 31

Regulations around testing, quarantine and re-testing will remain in place until the end of the year.

Until that date, all travellers will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test done within 72 hours of departure (increased from 48 hours.)

A March 2021 file photo of a Covid-19 test center in the center of Nuuk, Greenland. (Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

People travelling to Greenland who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to quarantine upon arrival, as well as undergo a second COVID-19 test.

The government said the reopening plan will be adjusted as necessary depending on the epidemiology of COVID-19 in the region.

Seven new cases on Monday

As of Monday, health authorities reported four new COVID-19 cases in Sisimiut, a town in western Greenland, and three in Nuuk. The Sisimuit cases were all from a known infection chain. The cases in Nuuk included one student in one location, and one employee and one child in the same day care in a separate location. Health authorities said there is no known link between the two Nuuk outbreaks.

Sisimiut remains the only jurisdiction in Greenland still under area restrictions which include allowing only fully vaccinated residents to use sports facilities or restaurants as well as public transit. The Qeqqata municipality, where Sisimiut is located, currently has 36 active COVID-19 infections.

Total infections in all of Greenland are 47 as of Tuesday.

The government also said it will be increasing communication about vaccinations and making vaccinations more available in the coming weeks.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Health board looking to delay Quebec vaccine passport for Nunavik youth until mid fall, Eye on the Arctic

IcelandIceland sets up committee to examine COVID-19 response, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Sweden extends COVID-19 test recommendations for travellers from abroad, 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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