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Iceland - to go or no?

40 replies

Newgirls · 06/07/2020 13:33

We have flights and self catering accom booked in Iceland at the end of the summer. When you get there you need to pay for a covid test and I guess wait and then go to your accom. Home or quarantine if ill I guess. So this puts me off going. Our flights will prob go and our accom says she is ok with it so we won’t get money back on either flights or accom. What would you do?

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AvoidingRealHumans · 06/07/2020 13:42

How long does the test result take and where do you wait in the meantime?
Could you quarantine beforehand to lower the already low risk of catching covid?

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Newgirls · 06/07/2020 13:44

Good question I’ll see if I can find more. I imagine a planeful of customers might take a while to test? Or maybe they will do it while on the plane?

Good idea to quarantine before too 👍

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ThinkAboutIceland · 07/07/2020 08:57

We're (hopefully) going to Iceland on Friday for 2 weeks.

  1. www.covid.is has all the info (change to english) you'll need but the process to avoid quarantine is to fill in a form before travelling and you can also pay for your test then which is just over £50 each. They also ask you to download their tracing app. At the airport you'll have a swab test and can then leave the airport and pick up a hire car/travel to your first accommodation - recommending that you avoid contact as much as possible. They will text you test results in about 6 hours/next morning. Negative test and you are then good to go


2. If you test positive then there seems to be another test you go for to check if you also have antibodies. If you do then you are ok again. If not you must isolate for 14 days, if that's not possible where you booked then the government will provide (I think free) accommodation.

3. There's also a possibility that you may be asked to quarantine if you are in contact with an infected person.

4. According to local news there may be 2 changes soon - 1 only affects Icelandic residents returning to the country (test then a few days quarantine then another test) but the other is that the company doing the border testing is threatening to stop on Monday (13th). No news yet on what would happen if they do but the CEO seems to have a history of throwing his toys so it may not happen if the government can calm him down (again)

5. In the 20 days since border testing started they have picked up 9 active infections at the border and there have been another 11 positives in country, mostly related to a returning resident which is why they're looking at the process for locals again, but they see tourists as relatively low risk. There are currently another 267 in quarantine (out of 330,000 people) and no hospitalisations. In total since the first test in Feb there have been 10 deaths

6. No masks or gloves are needed in country, 2m social distancing applies but everywhere is open albeit with reduced numbers and some reduced opening times.

7. I'm not sure but I think that only EEA (EU,UK, Norway and Switzerland) residents are allowed in. The border was supposed to open fully on 1st July but I'm not sure it did - certainly the US is still banned

From everything I've read I actually feel more confident about being there than in the UK! The only worrying part is the UK airport but we'll be masked and sanitised to the max and looking at our flight it seems pretty empty
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Newgirls · 07/07/2020 09:07

Thinkabout - that is so helpful thank you. Amazing intel!

Do you think locals will want random brits walking around?

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ThinkAboutIceland · 07/07/2020 09:38

No problem - I spent lockdown obsessively reading and planning, glad it's come in useful!

I'm hoping there's no issues- most Icelanders that tourists come into contact with make their living from them. The government is doing a big staycation push but as Iceland usually has about 7 times as many tourists than residents in a year there's still a big shortfall.

And generally they're pretty laid back and pragmatic as a nation - my theory is that when the landscape and the weather can quite easily kill you if you don't follow the rules then adjusting to the last 6 months was easier. They never had a full lockdown but relied on science and people applying different rules when needed to themselves. And it seemed to work....

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Newgirls · 07/07/2020 17:37

Thank you - id feel safer there then here tbh - just got to get though Luton airport which I imagine is very quiet. Will talk through with the family x

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TroysMammy · 07/07/2020 17:43

What would happen if they tested on the plane and someone tested positive, would that mean they'd refuse entry to all the other passengers? Considering most holidays to Iceland I've seen are over a few days it would be pretty miserable being in isolation for 2 weeks and missing the sights or being sent home.

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Newgirls · 07/07/2020 18:37

The plane thing is curious - surely they should test us all before we get on planes - but I guess the airlines will be very anti that

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Newgirls · 07/07/2020 18:39

Troys - I guess we have to work out how likely we are to catch it on a half empty plane of very cautious passengers. Total guesswork isn’t it.

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TroysMammy · 07/07/2020 18:42

It is, however Iceland is lovely what I saw of it on a day trip 21 years ago.

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ThinkAboutIceland · 07/07/2020 20:27

Will try and remember to report back after Friday.

The quarantine from someone on the plane is worrying me as well - although last time I checked the outbound flight there were only about 20 seats occupied!

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ThinkAboutIceland · 07/07/2020 20:28

Will try and remember to report back after Friday.

The quarantine from someone on the plane is worrying me as well - although last time I checked the outbound flight there were only about 20 seats occupied!

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ChateauMargaux · 07/07/2020 20:56

You will not be at risk in Iceland where the total deaths per million is 29 compared to the UK where the same measure is 634, topped only by San Marino and Andora who's total deaths are 42 and 52 so not really comparable and Belgium where the excess death rates seem to be wholly explained by reported COVID deaths where if instead we looked at excess deaths in the period, the UK would be worse.

While the poster up thread said the risk is higher from returning Icelanders, with the UK continuing to have the highest daily death rate in Western Europe (Russia being the exception in the whole of Europe) , you really do need to think about whether this risk to the population of Iceland that you bring along with you is justified.

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Newgirls · 08/07/2020 18:43

Oh totally agree. I don’t feel at risk going there other than what we might take with us. But they do want tourists so still thinking.

Yes pls report back Iceland thank you x

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Pootle40 · 08/07/2020 19:46

This sounds very like the approach in Jersey. On the first day that borders were opened 15 people on the easyJet flight were put into self isolation as sitting near an asymptomatic person who tested positive. I have no issue being swabbed myself but I'm worried about the chances of sitting next to an infected person and having no control over the holiday being ruined completely 😬

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Pootle40 · 08/07/2020 19:49

This sounds very like the approach in Jersey. On the first day that borders were opened 15 people on the easyJet flight were put into self isolation as sitting near an asymptomatic person who tested positive. I have no issue being swabbed myself but I'm worried about the chances of sitting next to an infected person and having no control over the holiday being ruined completely

jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2020/07/06/passenger-on-easyjet-gatwick-flight-tests-positive-for-coronavirus/

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Pootle40 · 08/07/2020 19:50

I suspect it would be something similar in Iceland. Apparently close contact on the plane is being within 6ft of someone! Bearing in mind the easyJet flight in this story only had 72 passengers so was half full and 15 of them forced into a 14 day quarantine!

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Newgirls · 09/07/2020 15:47

Exactly pootle - I don’t think we have it as all at home and getting deliveries but it only takes one on the plane. Rightly so but also who wants to go on holiday to that? If I was visiting loved ones it would be worth it so very different

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Newgirls · 09/07/2020 17:59

Shame they can’t test us all before we get on the planes but that would mean hours in an airport or lots of fake tests I guess.

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ThinkAboutIceland · 26/07/2020 11:44

I typed a long reply the day after I got to Iceland but it can't have posted!

But it all went really smoothly - swabs taken from throat and nose at the airport (never knew my nose went back that far!). Picked up hire car and went to our hotel (about 11pm by now as we were the last flight of the day) and missed breakfast to isolate from others. Still no results at check out time so we went for a drive. Results showed up on the track and trace app at about 1pm. Negative so we could go into a bakery to get lunch (starving by now).

Generally Iceland is back to normal. Signs re social distancing & hand washing everywhere and hand sanitiser but no masks at all. Everything is open and the majority of 'tourists' in the countryside were Iceland residents having a staycation. In 2 weeks I heard one other UK accent and met 3 Americans who had a dispensation to enter the country as they were working with the Coastguard. Plane out was between a third and half full. Coming back was even quieter.

Central Reykjavik in particular seemed quiet. Every other time I've practically had to queue at the Sun Voyager (sculpture) to take photos. This time we were there for 15 minutes on our own...

And while we were there Iceland had 8 infections diagnosed at the border and 2 in country - whatever they're doing seems to be working.

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goatley · 28/07/2020 16:53

I'm due to visit In October for a long weekend. A little concerned re the 24 hour wait to assume testing is negative?



I'm glad you had a nice visit.

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ThinkAboutIceland · 29/07/2020 09:20

I think things are changing so fast it's impossible to know what the requirements are going to be next month, never mind past that.

In the 2 weeks we were there they a) introduced a small quarantine plus 2nd test for returning residents, b) expanded the countries exempt from border testing, c) stopped the notification of negative tests and changed to the 24 hour rule.

And since we got back there have been 14 in country infections - some from a temporary worker not being identified as requiring the quarantine/2nd test and infecting several co-workers.
And (which may be most relevant to visitors) also a tourist infecting a tour guide who then infected several others.

So both of those might get them to change the requirements again....

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goatley · 29/07/2020 21:11

Yes, who knows what can happen on the next few weeks.

We paid the balance of our trip so it will etogee go ahead and be easy and fun, or will be completely cancelled with full refund.

Everything else had been cancelled this summer so am looking forward to some kind of a break.

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ThinkAboutIceland · 30/07/2020 13:50

Sorry to turn this into an Iceland news thread but new rules announced from 31st July that impact tourists planning on staying longer than 10 days (unless you're from one of 6 'safe' countries). Plus re-tightening of in country rules and the start of mask wearing


www.ruv.is/frett/2020/07/30/harsher-covid-rules-in-iceland-further-details

At least they react quickly...

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bruffin · 30/07/2020 14:48

We are booked for early september, dont think we will be affected too much as its only 8 day fly drive

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