Iceland has announced that travellers who have already contracted and recovered from coronavirus can enter the country without the need to quarantine or get tested.
The new rules come into force on 10 December and apply to visitors from within the European Economic Area (EEA), consisting of the EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Currently, those entering Iceland can opt to quarantine for 14 days or pay to get tested on arrival, quarantine for five days, and then get tested again. If they test negative both times, holidaymakers can leave quarantine after their second test result is returned.
From 1 December, arrivals will no longer have to pay for the testing option. It is hoped this will stimulate more international travel and encourage people to opt to be tested rather than self-isolating for two weeks.
These rules will remain in place, but those who can prove they have already had Covid-19 and made a full recovery by providing official documentation may forgo the restrictions.
Icelandic healthcare officials have said that people who have already contracted the virus and recovered no longer pose a risk in terms of spreading infection.
Iceland’s government also announced that the current system would remain in place until at least 1 February 2021, when it will be reviewed.
The UK is soon to adopt a similar approach to Iceland with its “Test to Release” programme: from 15 December, travellers arriving into England may opt to pay for a Covid Lamp test five days after they have left a destination that’s not on the travel corridors list.
Arrivals from these countries would normally have to quarantine for a full 14 days; under the new scheme, they can leave self-isolation early if their test result is negative.
Test-to-release applies to England only at present. It is thought likely that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are independently responsible for health issues such as quarantine, will follow suit.
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