Iceland has officially reopened its border to all travelers who can prove they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This means travelers no longer need to quarantine or even get tested before flying into the country. Iceland is one of the few European countries that has managed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, with only a handful of daily cases currently.
Iceland has officially become one of the few countries to have reopened its border to the world. Starting from today, March 18th, travelers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can enter the country without a test or quarantine period. While several countries have opened their borders in recent months, they all still have testing requirements.
To be eligible, travelers must have received one of the four vaccines approved by the European Medical Agency (EMA), which are made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. However, those with proof of prior infection with COVID-19 can also skip the testing and quarantine measures.
Test run successful
This isn’t the first time Iceland has relaxed restrictions for travelers. In January, the country opened its border to vaccinated travelers (or those previously infected) from the EU. After finding success with this easing, Iceland has gone ahead to open its border fully.
Iceland’s decision to reopen is particularly notable considering how few cases it currently has. In the last year, the country has seen 29 deaths and 6,089 cases, a tiny fraction of other European countries. It has also used testing at the border and shorter quarantines to keep out infections, unlike the lengthy 14-day quarantine instituted by other countries with similar case counts.
Considering the border reopening is a possible risk, Iceland has gone with the data. In a statement, Chief Epidemiologist Thórólfur Gudnason said,
“Our experience and data so far indicate very strongly that there is very little risk of infection stemming from individuals who have acquired immunity against the disease, either by vaccination or by prior infection. When people are protected against the same disease, with the same vaccines that are produced by the same companies, there is no medical reason to discriminate on the basis of the location where the jab is administered.”
Countries around the world will follow Iceland’s decision as a template for future reopenings. If the country manages to keep cases low and rebuild its tourism industry, many others might follow and ease their own border controls. With summer right around the corner, eager (and vaccinated) travelers can add Iceland as a destination they can visit.
Would you travel to Iceland after receiving your vaccine? Should other countries also ease border restrictions? Let us know in the comments!