Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Iceland tighten COVID-19-related restrictions in several cities as of Sept. 21; entry restrictions remain in place.

Alert Begins 21 Sep 2020 04:01 PM UTC
Alert Expires 28 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Event: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Iceland are tightening coronavirus disease (COVID-19) related restrictions in Reykjavik, Mosfellsaer, Hafnarfjodur, Garoaaer, Kopavogur, Kjosarhreppur, and Seltjarnarnes as of Sept. 21. Pubs and nightclubs will be closed in these cities through Sept 27; previously authorities had ordered the closure of these establishments Sept 18-21. This measure comes following an increase in infection rates nationwide.

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.

Most businesses and services have been allowed to resume operation provided they implemented strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. Protective facemasks must be worn where social-distancing requirements cannot be observed. The maximum size of permitted gatherings is 200.

Officials could further tighten restrictions at short notice if infection rates continue rising.

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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