New border rule next week: negative test required
Prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir put the proposal forward on behalf of health minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir, who could not attend the meeting. Both PCR test certificates and the quicker lateral flow test certificates will be acceptable when the new border rules come into force next week, on Monday 26th July. Tests must be less than 72 hours old.
The rules for non-vaccinated travellers will remain unchanged as they are now: a COVID test at the Icelandic border, five days’ quarantine, followed by a second test.
“Then, it will be a general suggestion for all people who live in Iceland, or have a network of connections, should also go for testing within 24 hours of arrival,” Katrín Jakobsdóttir told RÚV following the cabinet meeting.
Was the rule approved by all ministers? “There were of course various questions asked at the cabinet table, because this is a significant change,” Katrín says—adding that she believes the new rule is a “mild” response to the rising number of cases. “We are not seeing serious illness and that’s why harder action is not being proposed, but we also know that it has worked well for us here to have this active dialogue between politicians and scientists and build our responses on data. And we are seeing a very significant increase in infections among vaccinated people.”
Chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason this morning submitted his latest set of recommendations to the health minister, and Katrín confirms that he suggested demanding negative test results from arriving vaccinated passengers, and also ordering everybody with a kennitala to undergo testing within 24 hours of arrival. “But we do not believe that stands up to equality laws, so the health minister has made that part a recommendation,” the PM explains.
Þórólfur has not recommended any new COVID-19 prevention measures within Iceland, and the government did not discuss imposing domestic restrictions at its meeting today.