While Iceland is welcoming visitors from some nations to its expansive black sand beaches and awe-inspiring waterfalls, this week the country started implementing a more stringent testing program in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on its shores.
Visitors to the country will now be required to get tested twice: once upon arrival and then a second time a few days later, quarantining for five to six days in between, according to the country’s Directorate of Health.
Those who test positive will receive a phone call from the COVID-19 out-patient ward of the National Hospital. The initial test costs about ISK 9,000 to ISK 11,000 (or about $65 to $80) depending on if travelers choose to pay in advance or not, while the second test is free, according to Iceland’s COVID-19 website.
During the new quarantine procedure, which went into effect on Aug. 19, travelers cannot visit restaurants or Iceland’s famous swimming pools, but they can go for a walk in remote areas (which are very plentiful in Iceland) as well as take drives in a private or rented car. However, tourists under quarantine are not allowed to go sightseeing.
Alternatively, visitors can skip the testing and instead choose to quarantine for 14 days, according to the country’s Directorate of Health.
Iceland has recorded just over 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, far below many of its European counterparts.
The new protocols follow Iceland’s initial testing program for incoming visitors, which had required travelers to get tested once upon arrival at the airport. While tourists from many countries in Europe and several non-EU nations have been cleared to visit Iceland, those coming from America have not.
U.S. residents may not be headed to Iceland anytime soon, but there are several countries that are welcoming Americans this summer and into the fall.
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