Iceland to Open Borders to All Vaccinated Travellers
Iceland’s Justice Minister just announced that the country will open its borders to travellers from outside Europe who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. According to current regulations, Iceland’s borders are closed to all travellers outside the Schengen Area, EEA, EFTA, and EU, regardless of their vaccination status. Justice Minister Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir stated the change would take effect this week.
Áslaug announced the change following a cabinet meeting this morning. It could have a significant economic impact, as it opens the door to tourists from the United States, UK, and China, three of Iceland’s largest markets for tourism in recent years.
Travellers to Iceland from the Schengen Area, EEA, EFTA, and EU are exempt from quarantine and testing if they present a certificate confirming antibodies or COVID-19 vaccination. It is assumed the same would apply to vaccinated travellers arriving from outside Europe.
Decision Supported by Chief Epidemiologist
Both Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist and Minister of Tourism had stated their will to allow vaccinated individuals into the country regardless of where they are coming from. “From the point of view of disease prevention, it does not matter where an individual is coming from if he has a certificate to the effect that he has been vaccinated,” Þórdís Kolbrún told reporters at mbl.is. “We simply have a tremendous amount depending on regaining normal connection to the outside world, when conditions allow. Our task is to seek all means to open up when we can with the measures we deem necessary and we are able to make such decisions on our own terms.” Þórdís added when asked whether Iceland would make such a decision unilaterally if Europe remains closed to all third-country travellers.
In an interview this morning, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated: “I think it sounds strange to only accept certificates for the same vaccination and the same disease that are from inside the Schengen territory. At least from my point of view and an epidemiological and pathological point of view, I do not see an inherent difference.”