Iceland will soon be opening up to tourists from around the world by providing COVID-19 testing upon landing, and we now have a better sense of what that will look like.
Iceland’s plan to reopen to tourists
Iceland is planning for a summer tourist season as of June 15, 2020, and the country seems to be going about it in a rather responsible way (to the point that I’ve been pondering a trip to Iceland next month).
Most notably, visitors will have to do one of the following:
- Go into a 14-day quarantine
- Take a COVID-19 test upon arrival
- Provide a certificate of a recent negative COVID-19 test
On top of that, all visitors will have to install a tracing app on their phone.
The country was still ironing out the details surrounding COVID-19 testing, and we now have a better sense of what that will look like.
How Iceland’s COVID-19 testing will work
The Reykjavik Grapevine shares the plan that Iceland’s government has for testing tourists:
- COVID-19 testing will be available upon arrival as of June 15, 2020
- For the first two weeks the government will be covering the cost of the testing; it’s estimated that each test costs 50,000 ISK, or 350 USD
- Samples will be sent to a lab, and analyzed within five hours (visitors can already enter the country, and will be contacted regarding their results)
- The country plans to take roughly 1,000 samples per day, though it sounds like that limit is based on the maximum number of arriving passengers due to the limited flight schedule, rather than some arbitrary limit
- After two weeks the process will be evaluated, and if the project is successful, the country will start charging people for tests
- Many hotels will have to set up “isolation corridors” in the event that guests test positive for COVID-19, so that they’ll have somewhere to stay safely
Iceland is really being the guinea pig when it comes to responsible tourism, or at least tourism that’s as responsible as it can be. I’m curious to see how it works out. It’s very generous that they’ll offer free testing for the first two weeks, though the big question is what happens after that.
The cost of a test is apparently ~350 USD, so that will be a significant expense for those who visit Iceland after the free testing period. As a point of comparison, in early May Vienna Airport became one of the first airports in the world to offer COVID-19 testing to passengers, though the cost is 190 EUR.
For many, traveling to Iceland may just be the best way to get a COVID-19 test… 😉
What do you make of Iceland’s plan to offer free COVID-19 testing?