How Has Coronavirus Affected Iceland?
The coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything the modern world has seen. Many countries have seen critical infection and death rates, however, thankfully Iceland has managed to be quite fortunate and reacted quickly to limit as much damage and infection as possible. Here, we’ll explain how coronavirus has affected Iceland and how the country has put measures in place to control the spread of the virus.
Tourism in Iceland
Tourism is Iceland’s biggest export and the biggest draw to the country. Over the past decade or so, Iceland has skyrocketed to the top of the list of one of the world’s most desired holiday destinations.
All over the world, the tourism industry has suffered as a result of the coronavirus and its widespread effects on travel. Iceland decided early on at the outset of the pandemic to make the decision to close its borders to tourists to protect not only Icelandic citizens, but the tourists themselves. As a result, Iceland’s economy has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the way most countries have been worldwide. However, there are plans to boost tourism in Iceland in the coming weeks.
Reacting to Coronavirus
Iceland reacted swiftly and thoroughly to the COVID-19 outbreak. Firstly, travel restrictions into the country were put into place and anyone entering the country had to self isolate for 14 days upon entry to ensure that they didn’t spread the virus in the event that they were affected.
The Icelandic health authorities have also been testing Icelanders at an unprecedented rate. 10% of Iceland’s population has been tested for coronavirus, which is more than any other country has done. This has allowed Iceland to gather a great deal of data and also enabled them to make sure that more people who need to be isolating are doing so.
In addition to testing a large percentage of the population, Iceland has also carried out extensive interviews with those that tested positive to identify who they have been in contact with in recent weeks. This has then allowed the health authorities to interview those who have been in contact with the affected to carry out testing and make sure that anyone at risk of spreading the virus can isolate in order to minimise the potential spread of COVID-19.
In Iceland, there was no government forced lockdown. Some businesses have chosen to close and there were, of course, social distancing measures in place, but overall the Icelandic government asked the population to use common sense and trusted them to do so. This has worked very well, as most citizens have been more than happy to follow the government’s advice and observed self-isolation suggestions and guidelines.
As mentioned above, there is currently a plan in place to open Iceland’s borders to tourists again by the 15th of June, all being well. Iceland has seen the occurrence of new cases drop suddenly and in fact has only seen a handful of new cases throughout May.
This does not mean that everything will be returning to normal immediately, though. While the borders will be open again, there will still be strict measures in place to ensure that the spread is contained and to try and prevent another spike in infections. Anyone landing at Keflavik airport will have 3 options:
- Enter self-isolation for 2 weeks
- Undergo coronavirus testing at the airport, with next-day results
- Provide a certificate proving recent testing that is recognised by Iceland’s health authority
If you are planning on using our services on an upcoming trip to Iceland and have questions about the precautions we are taking to protect our customers, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We would be happy to help and answer any of your questions.