Iceland Removes All COVID-19 Travel and Social Restrictions

Iceland is expected to abolish all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, February 25, according to a government press release, including pandemic-related border procedures. The ability to enter and leave without having to comply with immunization, testing, or quarantine restrictions will allow international tourists to come and go more freely.

Iceland, together with its Nordic neighbors Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, has taken what is perhaps the most significant move toward normality the world has witnessed so far in recent history.

Public safety regulations in the United States will also be repealed, including limitations on social gatherings and school operations that were previously in place, as well as decreased opening hours and capacity restrictions for bars and restaurants that offer alcoholic beverages. The need that those who test positive for COVID-19 be quarantined will also be eliminated.

“We can certainly celebrate at this turning point, but I still advise people to be cautious, to exercise personal infection prevention measures, and to avoid contact with others if they see symptoms,” stated Willum ór órsson, Minister of Health and Welfare.

Foreign tourists visiting Iceland are obliged to provide a certificate of complete COVID-19 immunization or evidence that they have recovered from the virus until the policy is changed. Starting in February, vaccination certificates were only considered valid for 270 days (nine months) after the date on which an individual received his or her final dose of a primary vaccine series, unless the individual had received a booster injection since the date on which the certificate was issued.

Even though Iceland is now seeing a spike in new COVID-19 cases, the country’s Chief Epidemiologist, órólfur Gunason, said that, despite the fact that 2,100 to 2,800 new infections are being registered daily, “severe sickness has not grown in the same way.” A pattern that has been established as distinctive of the Omicron variety, and which is no probably impacted by the fact that 80 percent of Icelanders are now completely vaccinated, according to the tracker maintained by the news organization Reuters.

Gunason believes that, at this stage, “widespread herd immunity” would be required to get through the pandemic, which means that up to 80% of the population will ultimately have infected the virus and established natural immune system responses.

According to Reuters, the Health Ministry shared similar opinion in a statement, stating that “widespread social opposition to COVID-19 is the primary path out of the pandemic. In addition, the report said that “in order to do this, as many individuals as possible must get infected with the virus, since vaccinations alone would not give enough protection against severe sickness.”

Iceland, which has a population of approximately 368,000 people, has recorded more than 110,000 COVID-19 cases over the course of the pandemic; however, based on antibody testing, the Ministry of Health believes that approximately the same number of Icelanders have already been infected but have not been identified.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button