Iceland says tourists who had COVID-19 can skip quarantine

Some tourists traveling to Iceland who have had COVID-19 and recovered will soon be able to bypass coronavirus testing and quarantine, a new report suggests.

Travelers arriving to the Nordic island country from the European Economic Area (EEA) who show documents that prove they’ve contracted COVID-19 and are healthy again will be exempt from testing and Iceland’s 14-day quarantine beginning Dec. 10, according to the Iceland Review.

“Healthcare authorities have stated that people who have already contracted the virus and recovered are not at risk of spreading it further,” Iceland Review writes.

However, health agencies say it’s unclear if individuals who have had the virus and recovered are immune to getting it again. The Food and Drug Administration says on its website “we do not know if antibodies give you protective immunity against the virus.”

What’s more, the agency cautions against anyone using results from an antibody test to show they are at a lesser risk, and advises continued mask-wearing and social distancing.

Anyone traveling to Iceland at the moment must either get tested for the virus upon their arrival, quarantine for five days and retest, or adhere to a 14-day quarantine.

Globally, the International Air Transport Association is in the process of finalizing a digital COVID-19 passport that would include information about a traveler’s COVID-19 testing and vaccinations that would be verified by labs, airlines and government agencies, according to a separate report.

The digital COVID-19 passport would identify testing facilities and labs for passengers at their place of departure, and ensure they are safe and able to travel to their destination without restrictions such as quarantine.

Iceland, which has been reopened to tourists from the European Union since June, is in the midst of battling a third wave of the virus, though the numbers are declining, according to Iceland Review.