All people who have spent more than 24 hours in Botswana, Lesotho, Esvaten, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa are required to undergo COVID-19 testing requirements upon arrival in Iceland, regardless of their vaccination status.
This decision was confirmed by the country’s Health Minister, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, and comes amid growing concerns about the new alternative to the coronavirus, Omikron, which has been identified in several other regions, TheSchengen.com reports.
Additionally, all arrivals from the above-mentioned high-risk areas will also have to follow the mandatory five-day quarantine rule and then take another PCR test.
“Everyone who comes from a high-risk area, whether vaccinated or not and regardless of age, goes for a PCR test when they arrive in the country and then stays for five days in quarantine that ends with another PCR test,” the statement explains.
According to the announcement published by the Ministry of Health, all arrivals who have spent more than 24 hours in areas considered severely affected by the virus will also have to fill out an electronic pre-registration form stating, among other things, where they intend to remain isolated in Iceland.
“An electronic form must be filled out prior to arrival in the country, which includes information about the place of residence of the person concerned and where he is staying in quarantine in Iceland,” the statement read.
However, the same ministry made it clear that children born in 2016 and later will not be required to follow these entry rules.
Given the current situation of COVID-19, the chief epidemiologist urged all Icelanders not to travel abroad, regardless of their vaccination status or previous history of COVID-19 infection.
In addition, the chief epidemiologist stressed that the new variant of the coronavirus, Ómíkron is more contagious than the delta variant, which could cause more serious infection and that the vaccines offered do not provide much protection against this variant.
The Icelandic Ministry of Health also stressed that the Council of the European Union had also urged member states to take precautionary measures in order to stem the further spread of the new variant.
Based on figures provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 17,770 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Iceland since the start of the pandemic, while 35 people have died.
According to figures published by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), 76.7 percent of the population in Iceland has been vaccinated so far.