Iceland plans to reopen for tourists by June 15

The Blue Lagoon, which is a geothermal spa in southwestern Iceland, is a dream destination for many.

New Delhi (NVI): The Iceland government has announced that it is planning to reopen the country’s borders to tourists by June 15. The visitors will have to take a free COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport to avoid a 14-day quarantine.

Those who test positive would have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Iceland’s prime minister Katrin Jakobsdottir has made the announcement, according to Lonely Planet. In an official statement, the Iceland PM said that travel restrictions would be loosened “no later than June 15 2020, while from May 15 some professionals arriving in Iceland including scientists, filmmakers, and athletes will be eligible for a modified quarantine.”

People who can prove that they are healthy with official medical documents, won’t have to undergo another COVID-19 test, said the government.

At present, only travelers with Schengen region passports are allowed to enter Iceland, and everyone must self-isolate for 14 days upon the arrival.

The current restrictions have been in place since March 15, and the driving force behind the easing is a desire to restart the tourism industry to boost the economy, as per reports.

Meanwhile, Icelandair is said to be struggling with flights at an all-time low after 3,000 staff members having been laid off.

The decision to reopen the country to visitors has been made in a bid to boost Iceland’s tourism industry and the economy.

Iceland, which has a population of about 364,000, has so far confirmed over 1,800 cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths from the disease. It has reported only a handful of new cases in May, according to John Hopkins University.

About 38 per cent of the country’s inhabitants have downloaded its COVID-19 tracing app, and any visitors this summer would probably be required to do so too.

“When travelers return to Iceland we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic,” Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, the Minister of Tourism told Lonely Planet.

“Iceland’s strategy of large-scale testing, tracing, and isolating have proven effective so far. We want to build on that experience of creating a safe place for those who want a change of scenery after what has been a tough spring for all of us,” she added.