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Iceland is reopening to tourists from June 15, and every arrival will get a free COVID-19 test

Iceland has a population of around 364,000, and has had just 1,803 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 10 related deaths.

Iceland is reopening to tourists from June 15, and every arrival will get a free COVID-19 test
© Getty/Anna Om A visit to Iceland's Blue Lagoon is a bucket list item for many people. Getty/Anna Om

By Rachel Hosie, Insider
  • The prime minister of Iceland has announced plans to reopen the country's borders to tourists from June 15.
  • Each traveler will be given a free COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport and receive results right away, according to Lonely Planet.
  • Those who test positive will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • The decision has been made in a bid to boost Iceland's tourism industry and the economy, Matador Network reports.

The prime minister of Iceland has announced plans to reopen the country's borders to tourists from June 15.

Each traveler will be given a free COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport and receive results right away — those who test negative will be free to enjoy their time in the country, and those who test positive will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir announced in an official statement that travel restrictions will 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," according to Lonely Planet.

If you can prove that you've already tested negative with official documentation, you won't be required to undergo another test.

"It's very important to be able to have a more long-term view of things than we've been able to until now," Bjarnheiður Hallsdóttir, the chair of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF), told RÚV, reported by the Reykjavik Grapevine.

"I believe that if everything goes well, we should see some tourists here this summer. For those who want to come, this will be a very real possibility."

Iceland is reopening to tourists from June 15, and every arrival will get a free COVID-19 test
© Smit/Shutterstock Famous grass hills near Stokksnes mountains, Iceland Smit/Shutterstock

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

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

Icelandair is reportedly on the brink of bankruptcy, with flights at an all-time low and 3,000 staff having been laid off.

"There is a lot at stake that Icelandair continues operations, and it's in reality a life-or-death question for tourism in Iceland," said Hallsdóttir.

"Hopefully people realize that the situation isn't just about Icelandair but tourism in Iceland as a whole, and not just tourism but the economy and our whole society."

Iceland has a population of around 364,000 and has had just 1,803 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 10 deaths, according to John Hopkins data.

Iceland is reopening to tourists from June 15, and every arrival will get a free COVID-19 test
© Getty/Elka Photos The Blue Lagoon at sunrise. Getty/Elka Photos

Around 38% of the country's inhabitants have downloaded its COVID-19 tracing app, and any visitors this summer would be required to do so too.

As Business Insider's Isobel Asher Hamilton previously reported, this makes Iceland's download rate of a contagion tracking app the best in the world.

However, Detective Inspector Gestur Pálmason from the Icelandic Police explained that the app was only effective when combined with manual contact-tracing.

"When travelers return to Iceland we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic," said Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation, as per 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."

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Travel Magazine: Iceland is reopening to tourists from June 15, and every arrival will get a free COVID-19 test
Iceland is reopening to tourists from June 15, and every arrival will get a free COVID-19 test
Iceland has a population of around 364,000, and has had just 1,803 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 10 related deaths.
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