Travellers that have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can now visit Iceland without restrictions as the country eases its border measures to restore tourism amid the global pandemic.
Iceland becomes one of the first countries this year to ease its border rules as coronavirus vaccinations continue to roll out around the globe.
Under the new policy, vaccinated travellers entering Iceland are no longer subject to mandatory testing or quarantine measures on arrival.
The Nordic island nation known for its gorgeous landscapes of volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields saw tourist numbers drop by 75 per cent last year to under half a million.
“The world has been through a lot in the past twelve months, and we are all hoping for a slow and safe return to normalcy,” Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said in a statement on Tuesday (March 16). “This also includes the resumption of the opportunity to travel, which is valuable to culture, trade and enterprise.”
“The decision to apply border exemptions for vaccinated individuals to countries outside the EU/EEA area is a logical extension of our current policy.”
The order officially takes effect on Thursday (March 18).
Vaccinated travellers = low risk
Until now, Iceland had closed its borders to all but vaccinated travellers – specifically those from European Union countries, allowing visitor to enter without restrictions
The latest exemption now applies to all visitors outside the Schengen area, including Britain and the United States, the government said.
Travellers much show proof of vaccination with a vaccine that has been certified by the European Medicines Agency, which excludes Chinese and Russian vaccines.
"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,” stated Thórólfur Gudnason, chief epidemiologist of the Icelandic Directorate of Health.
“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.”
“Our experience shows that the risk of infection from vaccinated individuals is very small or negligible.”