Iceland is Testing for International Arrivals to Start on 15 June​

As Iceland looks to open its border to international travellers from 15th June, Icelandair, the country’s leading airline, has outlined its plans to restart operations in order to accommodate the post-COVID-19 wave of tourists.

The Government of Iceland has today confirmed its plans of offering the option of a COVID-19 test from 15 June to all international arrivals as an alternative to the two-week quarantine requirement, in place since April. This is in line with the recommendations of the Chief Epidemiologist and the economic impact assessment from the Ministry of Finance. There are currently only two active cases of COVID-19 in Iceland.

The Chief Epidemiologist will oversee the operation in collaboration with other healthcare agencies and deCode Genetics, the company that has performed the country’s rigorous testing among the asymptomatic population.

“The intention is to safeguard the progress we have made so far when travellers start returning to Iceland” says Chief Epidemiologist Thorolfur Gudnason. “Throughout the pandemic, we have aimed for moderate but targeted measures based on the best available information. Primary schools have remained open and no lockdowns have been imposed. Now that there are almost no cases in Iceland, we see this as a normal next step as the world is slowly opening up to travel again.”

All travellers will still be strongly encouraged to follow precautionary guidelines, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, and to respect regulations in place, including the ban on social gatherings of more than 200 people.

The price for testing will be announced within the next few days, along with the requirement for certificates of prior testing which tourists will be able to present upon arrival, instead of a new test or quarantine. Children will be exempt from testing.

All information will be available as soon as it is announced. Iceland will continue implementing travel restrictions imposed for the Schengen Area and the European Union, which are currently due to remain in place until 15 June.

Icelandair is working closely with Keflavik airport to put in place stringent safety and hygiene measures for both inbound and outbound travellers. They have made changes to the check-in, terminals, boarding and onboard policies in line with COVID-19 regulations to ensure the safety and peace of mind of all passengers. Details of these changes can be found on their ‘Safe Travels – Shared Responsibility’ page, which is being updated regularly as more information becomes available.

With comparatively small tourist numbers in relation to usual levels, travellers will be looking to visit Iceland’s highlights whilst popular spots are quiet. With this in mind, Icelandair will be placing focus on their holiday packages to ensure customers gain the most from their Iceland experience. Booking a package through Icelandair will give customers the reassurance that their holiday will be organised securely and with their health and wellbeing in mind.

Icelandair is also planning to add more destinations to their current limited flight schedule. Icelandair is currently operating flights to London, Stockholm and Boston, and they’re hoping to extend this offering on the reopening of borders to Denmark, Norway and Germany with the possibility of The Netherlands and Belgium soon after. Other markets will be reviewed alongside ongoing international border openings.

Birna Ósk Einarsdóttir, Chief Commercial Officer at Icelandair said “Iceland is a bucket-list travel destination for people from all over the world. Reopening the country to tourists whilst keeping in place a stringent Covid-19 testing policy will ensure our country’s tourism industry continues to thrive and its residents and visitors are safe. We are proud to be at the forefront of the restart of the travel industry and are looking forward to welcoming visitors back with open arms. We are ready when you are ready.”

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