Iceland set to scrap travel restrictions to all vaccinated travellers

Iceland has officially opened its borders to all travellers, providing the are able to prove that they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Iceland opens up again

Along with the rollout of the vaccine far and wide, comes a lifeline to the aviation and tourism industries. As of yesterday, 18th March, Iceland has officially become one of the few countries to fully open its borders to the rest of the world. Travellers will be permitted entrance to Iceland without having to take a test or undergo a quarantine period, on the condition that they have been fully vaccinated against Coronavirus. Whilst plenty of other countries have also opened their borders to travel, they still have testing requirements and mandatory quarantine periods.

Icelandair Aircraft flying over green fields
“[Iceland is set on welcoming vaccinated travellers back] | © ]Airways]”
In order to be eligible, travellers must have received one of the four vaccines approved by the European Medical Agency (EMA), which are those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. Furthermore, those who can prove prior infection of Covid-19 can also skip testing and quarantine measures.

Countries such as Turkey have similarly taken advantage of vaccination programmes in aiding them in their quest to restore travel and tourism.

Successful test run

This is not the first time Iceland has relaxed restrictions and opened its borders up. In January, Iceland opened its borders to EU travellers who were vaccinated or had previously had Covid-19. Due to the success of this, Iceland has taken the decision to open its borders fully.

Iceland’s decision to open up is notable considering how few Covid cases there currently are in the country. In the last year, Iceland has seen just 29 deaths and 6,089 cases, a fraction of those seen in neighbouring European countries. Iceland has also used rigorous testing measures at the border and shorter quarantine periods to keep infections and transmissions out, unlike lengthy 14-day quarantine periods of European counterparts.

Woman administering Covid-19 test to a man in the airport
[Iceland has had testing at the borders for some time] | © ]Jelena Ćirić]
Although opening up could pose a risk, Iceland has gone with the data in making its decision. 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”.

Hope for the future

If Iceland manages to keep cases low and tourism up, it is likely that many countries will follow suit in easing travel restriction and border controls, allowing travel to begin to resume. With summer just around the corner, the news will come as a positive surprise to many eager, vaccinated travellers.

Do you think Iceland has taken a step in the right direction in easing restrictions? Will you be adding Iceland to your holiday list? Tell us what you think below!

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