Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Iceland ease domestic COVID-19-related restrictions as of Sept. 7; international travel restrictions remain in effect.

Alert Begins 10 Sep 2020 01:38 PM UTC
Alert Expires 24 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Event: Easing of COVID-19-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions; travel and business disruptions remain

Summary
Authorities in Iceland eased domestic restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Sept. 7. The maximum size of permitted gatherings is increased from 100 to 200, and social distancing requirements are reduced from 2 meters (6 feet) to 1 meter (3 feet). Previously, authorities permitted most businesses and services to resume operation provided they implemented strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. Facemasks must be worn where social distancing requirements cannot be observed.

Authorities in Iceland permit entry to citizens and residents of EU and Schengen Area states in addition to citizens and residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the UK, Vatican City, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. Most travelers from other locations remain prohibited for entry, with some exclusions, including freight and transport workers, immediate family members of Icelandic residents, diplomats, students, individuals conducting necessary work, and for urgent family reasons. All permitted arrivals are required to fill out a pre-registration form prior to departure and can choose to either self-isolate for 14 days or submit to a COVID-19 test on arrival and five days after arrival, while remaining in self-isolation for the intervening period.

Officials could tighten restrictions at short notice if infection rates rise.

Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Heed all official advisories and remain nonconfrontational if stopped by authorities. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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