Is it safe to travel to Iceland now?
Iceland isn’t classified as a high risk area according to the Directorate of Health in Iceland. Tourists coming from abroad do not need to go into quarantine. However, Iceland temporarily closed its borders to tourist nationals from countries outside of the EU/EEA and EFTA. This advice is valid until 17 April 2020 and is in line with the EU’s recommendations. An updated list of defined risk areas can be found here. Let’s monitor events and make decisions based on facts and the well-being of our loved ones.
The most up to date developments and information about Iceland and COVID-19 can be found on the official Icelandic help page. For more information, you can also check the official Directorate of Health and Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management websites.
If you have been to any of the high-risk areas or in contact with anyone who has COVID-19 within the last 14 days and are worried you may be infected you are advised to call 1700 from an Icelandic phone number or +354 544 4113 from any other phone. A health care professional will give you further assistance.
What are Iceland’s guidelines during the current Covid-19 outbreak?
As of 24th of March 2020, the Directorate of Health in Iceland issued rules of social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This means that individuals are expected to keep a distance of two meters from each other. Group gatherings of more than 20 people are forbidden. Due to the social distancing ban, some facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, spas, and hairdressers are closed.
Shops and pharmacies are meant to stay open during the outbreak. Although, no more than 100 people can enter the facilities at the same time. Stores and pharmacies have employees who make sure that people abide by the two-meter rule as well as provide hand sanitizers.
What measures is Arctic Adventures taking against the virus?
In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, Arctic Adventures has put into place various safety measures to protect our adventurers. All safety procedures are based on the guidelines provided by the Icelandic Directorate of Health. Our tour guides and staff have been prepared according to these standards. If there is a high chance of infection, health officials will be contacted and the appropriate measures taken by guides and staff.
We want our clients to know their safety and welfare is always our top concern, whether you’re climbing a glacier or avoiding infection. The best way to protect yourself from getting sick is through good hygiene, so every Arctic Adventure vehicle has been equipped with hand sanitizer. Additionally, both vehicles and operational bases have printed out instructions on how to avoid infection.
While we are in the midst of a serious situation, this is not the first time we have seen a health crisis cause widespread panic (i.e Zika, SARS, and Ebola). We hope that as we see more recovered patients and learn more about this particular virus, the fear will subside. In times like these, it is important to manage misinformation and follow the advice of official health organizations.
Arctic Adventure Tours FAQs
Does Arctic Adventures routinely disinfect buses?
Yes. The health and safety of our adventurers is our top priority, so our cars are cleaned after all tours. Due to the outbreak, we will also disinfect our buses if we suspect there is a chance of infection.
What happens If anyone in the group falls sick during the tour?
In the case of a suspected COVID-19 infection, Arctic Adventures has a written set of emergency procedures to follow. These procedures are based on guidelines created by the Icelandic Directorate of Health. Each case might be different but if there is a high probability of infection, health officials are to be contacted and the proper measures taken.
Are the travelers required to take any medical precautions (e.g. checking temperature daily) on their tour?
Travelers are not asked to take any medical precautions. We believe that all adventurers traveling with us are sensible and can make an informed decision based on their own health. To reduce the risk to a minimum, we advise all of our tour participants to frequently wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and cover your mouth when sneezing and coughing.
Could I get a full refund because I don’t feel comfortable traveling during the outbreak?
Arctic Adventures can not be held responsible for any loss, damage, accident, injury, sickness, schedule change or other factors due to weather, strike, natural disasters or any other cause beyond Arctic Adventures‘s control. Arctic Adventures acts in good faith and cannot be held responsible for defaults or delays of organizations that are not a part of the Arctic family such as individual agencies, hotels, other tour operators, airlines, guides, restaurants or any other person‘s or company‘s act.
Find more information on our refund and cancellation policy.
Healthcare, Hospitals & Insurance: What to do if you get sick in Iceland
While the likelihood of COVID-19 infection in Iceland is very low, healthcare facilities around the country have begun updating their response plans. Surgeon General Alma Möller said during a press conference that The National Hospital is well-equipped to handle coronavirus patients, and added they have 26 respirators in top condition.
- If you think you have been infected with the coronavirus, health officials recommend you self-quarantine and call 1770 (+354 544 4113). Do not visit any healthcare centers without being directed to first.
In the case that you do get sick on vacation, take comfort that Iceland has some of the best healthcare in the world. For insured travelers in-patient hospitalization is free, and for as long as necessary. Keep in mind that ambulance services cost a fee.
Main Hospital – Landspitali:
Hringbraut 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Capacity: 700 beds
Icelandic Healthcare: Quick Facts
- Iceland has a universal healthcare system.
- Iceland has more doctors per capita than any other country on earth.
- Iceland ranks in the top 10 best European healthcare systems.
- Iceland emergency services number: Dial 112
For temporary travelers, Iceland has health centers and clinics that provide primary health care if need be. If you feel sick while on your trip, you can go to a local health center and they will take you even without booking an appointment. Practically every doctor and health care worker in Iceland speaks English.
Keep in mind you may be charged for services provided at the center, so make sure you are covered under health insurance.
Travelers Health Insurance Coverage
Health service insurance coverage for EEA citizens temporary traveling in Iceland
EEA citizens who are insured are entitled to all medical services while in Iceland. The type of care needed and the expected length of stay will be taken into consideration. Services provided are charged at a fixed fee. Depending on your insurance, it’s possible to get the charge fully reimbursed.
Make sure you understand your health insurance policy before you travel. If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you must bring it to Iceland with you. If you don’t, you’ll have to pay in full for any of the healthcare services used.
Health service insurance coverage for non-EEA citizens temporary traveling in Iceland
It is recommended that non-EEA citizens purchase travel insurance. People in this category can get medical care while in Iceland, but must pay full price for all services and can seek reimbursement from their health insurance providers.
Healthcare costs for travelers
Travelers who need to visit a doctor in Iceland should make sure they bring an insurance card or papers and a valid passport. The following prices are for services offered by local Health Care Clinics and the national hospital. Note that prices will be much higher at private health care clinics.
General Travel FAQs
Has Iceland imposed any travel bans or restrictions for specific countries?
As of 20 March 2020, Iceland closed its borders to tourists from countries outside of the EU/EEA and EFTA. The travel ban is valid until 17 April 2020. People are advised against any unnecessary travel to “high-risk areas” including Italy, China, South Korea, and Iran. Health care workers have been asked to limit travel as much as possible.
How likely am I to catch coronavirus in Iceland?
Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Iceland have been quarantined and are being monitored closely, as well as those they were in contact with. Those who have not been diagnosed but have traveled to high-risk countries have been asked to self-quarantine for the required 14 days. Icelandic health officials have continued to take all necessary precautions to protect citizens and travelers and the chances of catching the virus inside the country remain low. Travelers are asked to practice good hygiene to keep them and others safe.
Who do I call if I feel sick? Where do I go?
If you suspect you might have been infected with COVID-19, please refrain from going out in public. Health officials recommend you self-quarantine and call 1770 (+354 544 4113) for further advice. Most importantly, refrain from going to the ER or clinics without being asked to do so by a health professional.
Where is the hospital in Reykjavik? If I get sick will I be hospitalized there or somewhere else?
In the unlikely event that you contract the coronavirus in Iceland and develop respiratory issues or other complications related to the virus, you will be hospitalized in one of the university hospitals in Iceland. One is located on Fossvogur 108 and the other one is right downtown in 101.
There are also smaller hospitals around the country which are well prepared to deal with coronavirus incidents. Otherwise, all foreign patients who show mild symptoms with confirmed or strongly suspected cases will be quarantined in a medical hotel in Reykjavik. All local citizens are subjected to home quarantine if hospitalization is not needed.
How long are infected people being hospitalized if identified as sick?
For as long as needed. Patients with mild symptoms will be put up in a medical hotel and locals subjected to home quarantine. Currently there is no treatment for the virus, only for the symptoms. Based on the information so far of recovered cases, people have spent around three weeks in the hospital. As to the question of how long does coronavirus last, there is no answer yet as symptoms can subside before a full recovery.
Will I be rejected at airport customs in Iceland?
No entry screenings have been recommended at this point in time, according to the Directorate of Health for Iceland. Iceland customs are not asking travelers if they have been to China and there are no entry stamp checks being done by border police on flights arriving from inside the Schengen. However, texts are being sent to incoming passengers to seek medical attention if they have come from Wuhan and are showing flu symptoms.
More information on the preparedness of Iceland’s airports and ports can be found here.
Can I buy a face mask at the airport or pharmacy?
The Icelandic Directorate of Health recommends that people carry disposable tissues to sneeze into or throw away instead of using masks. According to WHO, healthy people only need to wear a mask if they are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection. Frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water is the most important preventive measure! However, if needed, you can buy masks at pharmacies for around 10 ISK per piece.
We hope this has been helpful!
If you have any other questions regarding booking a tour with us, please contact us here.