The first holiday country plans to enter without quarantine for tourists who have not been vaccinated

The first holiday country plans to enter without quarantine for tourists who have not been vaccinated

Iceland has by far the lowest number of new infections with the Coronavirus in Europe. The island is now planning to enter without a quarantine for tourists who have not yet been vaccinated.

Reykjavik-Iceland is Europe’s answer to that New Zealand*, And this has been the case recently not only due to green landscapes and natural wonders. Like New Zealanders on the other side of Earth, Icelanders have dealt with the coronavirus pandemic more than a few other countries. The fact that the Vikings, with their low number of new infections, are currently the undisputed best in their class in Europe, due in part to an isolated situation – as with Kiwis in Down Under – but also to a strategic rigid state.

Corona measures in Iceland are having an effect

“Our fight against the epidemic has gone better than we expected,” said Icelandic Prime Minister Catherine Jacobsdottir from Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Icelandic way with Comprehensive corona tests and test results within a few hours, consistent contact tracking and strict quarantine and isolation rules It may have shown better results than the stringent measures taken in other countries. “This is the key to our success: easy access to tests for people, traceability, and the scientific approach,” says the prime minister.

This strategy is reflected in very few new infections. After peaking in mid-October, the values ​​decreased rapidly. Aside from some positive reviews from travelers after their arrival, Iceland was the last time Six consecutive days without a home Corona case Testing.

Once only 6.59 new infections per 100,000 residents in the first two weeks of February Iceland is unmatched in the ECDC comparative figures. Even other northern European countries such as Norway (66), Finland (88) and Denmark (100) – behind Iceland, the countries with the lowest numbers in the European Economic Area – are several times higher. Coronavirus-related deaths in Iceland in the period: 0.

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Iceland in the Coronavirus Pandemic: This is why the country is doing so well today

It can now be said that Iceland, with its secluded location in the North Atlantic Ocean, has a clear advantage and can only be compared to larger countries to a limited extent – after all, the island has a population of only 360,000, and therefore close to Bochum. Or Wuppertal. Success depends not only on the location and size of the country, but also on Rigorous procedures, testing, contact tracing and a high degree of public confidence in their experts.

It goes without saying that border controls are much easier for Iceland compared to others: Germany has nine countries borders and has many international airports; Iceland can be reached almost exclusively via Keflavík airport near Reykjavík. Whoever enters must have one since Friday Negative, with a maximum of 72 hours old PCR test send. There is also a Corona test on arrival, five to six days of quarantine and another test after the quarantine period.

Quarantine is already an important component of Icelandic Corona’s strategy: Anyone who has had contact with an infected person must endure it. For comparison: So far, about 6,000 people in Iceland have tested positive for coronavirus – but fewer than 46,000 people have been temporarily quarantined.

And then there’s that Trust the experts. Chief epidemiologist Thórólfur Gudnason, Director of Civil Protection Feder Rennison and Director of Health Alma Muller is often referred to as the “Trinity” – and despite the strict restrictions imposed on public life, most Icelanders follow their guidelines. For this they were rewarded with some relaxation: bars were allowed to reopen this month, and as of this Wednesday, up to 200 spectators are allowed again at the football stadium, theater and cinema as well as at other sporting and cultural events; The maximum number of meetings will be increased from 20 to 50. Swimming pools and gyms can now reach up to 75 percent of their maximum capacity, Health Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir announced Tuesday.

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Even so, Icelanders remain vigil. Epidemiologist Goodnason had already emphasized last week that, despite the good situation, further mitigation should be done slowly and cautiously. “I don’t think the virus has disappeared in Iceland. I’m worried it might be hiding somewhere.”

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Entry requirements are at the same time a way to make Iceland one for Tourism branch An important balancing act: allowing vacationers to return to the country, but not new drivers for the infection. One step in this direction is that travelers can free themselves from testing and quarantine if they can prove they have survived the infection or have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The tourism sector, which is very important for Iceland, saw a sharp decline in 2020: The number of foreign tourists has decreased by 76 percent to less than 500,000. Will things get better again in 2021? “In the long term, I am optimistic. We expect a certain number of tourists, but we don’t know if that will happen.” Ultimately, it depends on how fast the vaccinations are in Iceland and in other countries.

A new entry system is now planned from May 1 that could free travelers from countries with lower risk of infection from quarantine. The industry realizes that tourism in Iceland cannot continue without restrictions from now on. “It’s not about“ the sooner the better, ”says Sigrídur Dögg Gudmundsdóttir, head of Iceland’s state tourism agency.“ It is about “the safer, the better”. (Dpa) * Merkur.de is part of the Ippen national digital editing network.

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