This is the third and last part of my true story about traveling to Iceland. The second COVID-19 test is up after I have spent 5 days in quarantine. Why a second test? Well, if you want to go to Iceland you have two options once you land at the airport or arrive at the dock. You can decide to take 2x COVID-19 tests and spend 4-6 days in quarantine between the tests. The other option would be to go to a 14-day quarantine but the first option is quicker and safer. The length is uncertain (4-6 days) and rumor has it that if you land on a Monday you are ready to travel on a Thursday or Friday. However, if you land on a Saturday like I did you are also ready a Thursday or Friday.
That is not the only thing that seems uncertain! Our company Camper Iceland contacted the government after they released these hard measures. Our question was if a Motor Home would be suitable for a place to undergo the quarantine. The answer was no! The space is too small and there is no toilet and no shower. Now we all know that there is a shower in the motor home and a toilet. We could agree that a motor home is smaller than an apartment but to be honest I have seen smaller hotel rooms than a 6-person Motor Home. We contacted the government again because we disagree! The answer came a few minutes ago: You are allowed to stay in the Motor Home during the quarantine. However, you must park it where you are allowed to and should not travel. Make up your minds guys! This is ridiculous!
To be on the save side we offer our vehicles free for 5 days if rented for 12 days or more. HERE IS THE OFFER Why 12 days? We believe that 7 days (a shorter rental makes no sense at all) plus the 5 days quarantine are the shortest period you need to explore something. The average rental days is 13 days because most people go around Iceland in 2 weeks. In my humble opinion you need to add the 5 days to the trip. So far this has not been fruitful! In accordance to the local newspaper it needs positive thinking people to believe that tourist go to Iceland during this time. That seems true but is a bit sad because the sites are empty and for me this quarantine has been easy as pie.
My name is Daniel and I decided to go to Iceland and I chose to take 2 tests and undergo 4-6 days of quarantine. The first test was negative, and so I was able to take a cab to my apartment. Have you read the first and second part of my story? If not it would make sense to check them out first, HERE IS THE FIRST PART and HERE IS THE SECOND PART.
Iceland is a smart choice because we do want to travel. It might sound awkward but now is the right time, let me tell you. The country is almost empty! No waiting in line, no pre-ordering. On my first day in quarantine I chose to “just” go running as you are allowed to take a walk / run somewhere where only a few people are. Don’t forget that you are not allowed to visit the sights, like I pointed out in part 2 of my story. However and I wonder if you are allowed to take a walk near a site if only a few people are there and you can keep the distance. Sounds like a loophole because the rules state you can take a walk but not visit a site. In my case I met no one because a place where nobody is, is basically everywhere at the moment with the limitation of down town. On the second day I used the next “you are allowed to” rule and took a drive. Because I am not supposed to visit the sites, and I am not supposed to drive to another part of the country I stayed in Reykjanesbær where I am accommodated. The airport is in Keflavík and that is in Reykjanesbær, so is the Blue Lagoon where I drove by and saw perhaps 20 cars but no bus. Last year it would have been 90 cars and 15 buses! I also drove past the site where you can walk from one continental plate to the other (America-Europe). There was nobody there! Last year it would be at least one bus and 15 cars. Same goes for Gunnuhver and Reykjanesviti. No one there at first but then I saw a passenger car driving there and the couple looked like locals. I remembered that a few years ago one of my friends from Switzerland complained that Iceland was too crowded. Not as crowded as Switzerland but still I understand what he meant. In the old days you could drive to the Geyser and there were 5 persons there waiting for it to blast water in the air. Then all of a sudden there is a Hotel, a shop, 200 cars and 20 buses. Well guess what, there is almost no one there now. Seems that the old days are back and still no one dares or cares to see it. So what are you waiting for? Here is how I would do it:
- Fly to Iceland, prepare in accordance to the first part of my story (checklist)
- Decide to take 2 tests and the 4-6 day quarantine
- Go to Camper Iceland and fetch your Motor Home or Camper
- Drive to your hotel room and stay there for the first night. If you have spare time go for a walk or take a drive.
- The next day drive to the accommodation you will spend the remaining days until you are asked to take the second test. The camper or Motor Home can be used for driving around and you continue to take walks. Use the time to rest and prepare for the trip.
- Once the second test is finished, jump around and go explore Iceland!
Perhaps you could even ask Camper Iceland to buy some breakfast or food and cook in the vehicle but sleep in the hotel or summer house. You could also ask Camper Iceland to get a discount for the first days because you are basically just using the vehicle for transportation. A very smart move would be to drop by at Camper Iceland after the second test and get a face to face instruction on how to use the vehicle.
Enough advising, lets continue my story. I told you that I took a walk on the first day in quarantine and a drive on the second day of quarantine. Between these activities I did the things I have wanted to do for a long time: Take a break, sleep, read, play a game, listen to music or talk on the phone to people I have not spoken too for a long time. If this quarantine gives us something, it is time. For someone as active as me having all this time can be difficult. So difficult that I wished I could put together IKEA furniture rather than spending the last day in quarantine. That means something, right?
One thing that is inevitable is the fact that the second test is on the 27th of August. My first day in quarantine was in the 23rd. Here is what the Icelandic government wrote to me:
According to rules on quarantine and isolation after travelling due to COVID-19, you need to undergo a 2nd screening test on 2020.08.27. In between the two tests you need to adhere to rules of quarantine. You will receive a barcode in an email the day before your alotted day for the 2nd test. Please bring an ID and this barcode to the testing.
It is important to present to the 2nd test as instructed. The Contact Tracing Team will locate those that do not attend.
In Reykjavik you should go to Sudurlandsbraut 34, ground floor, 108 Reykjavik. The centre is open 8:30-15:30, Monday to Friday and 12:00-15:30 on weekends and holidays.Your alotted day and time is 2020.08.27 10:00-12:00
If you are located outside the greater Reykjavík area, information about testing centres can be found on the website of the Directorate of Health at: https://www.landlaeknir.is/um-embaettid/greinar/grein/item42633/COVID-19-Border-Testing
Note: In between the two tests you need to adhere to rules of quarantine. If the 2nd test is negative (no virus found), the quarantine is lifted. If your test is positive (virus is found), you will be contacted by telephone. No response in 24 hours means the test is negative (no virus found).
If you have been in close contact with an infected person or have symptoms of COVID-19, contact a healthcare centre by telephone during the daytime. If you have an Icelandic social security number you can use the patient portal heilsuvera.is. After-hours dial 1700, or +354 544 4113 from a foreign number, for the on-call service. In emergency dial 112. Persons with symptoms of COVID-19 should not present to testing appointment but call the health care service first.
END OF QUOTE
In my case I received an email the day before I was supposed to take the second test. The E-Mail included the QR (barcode) code for the second test, I decided to be on spot 0950hrs. I drove to Reykjavík to take the test rather then contacting another place like I could have. Beeing early was a smart idea, and I was glad because on my way out people were already standing in line. The test itself was exactly the same as the first time when I took the test at the airport. To be honest the person at the airport was far more friendly. This time it was a smaller man that spoke English with an eastern dialect, I presume Polish. He asked me to stand straight and I noticed all others that got tested were sitting in a chair. Then he asked be to look more up until he was happy with how I was standing. Then he said something and I looked at him. The little man got furious and said I should not look at him but straight like he told me to. I though t to myself what a complete nonsense this is! He started by taking the sample out of the mouth and asked me to say AAA. Then he shoved the test strip up my nose but this time he did not just shove it up there but when fully in he turned it left and right for a few seconds. “You can go!” he said to me and I walked away. When I walked to the parking lot there were 20-30 persons waiting in line, and I was glad that it was over.
- Bring your passport
- Be there early
- In my case I took the test 09:55, the result that I was again negative (no virus detected) came via SMS at 14:14 and again 17:00.
- Use a navigation system or be sure to know how to find this place. The building is not accessed from Suðurlandsbraut but from the other side. I used WAZE but google will probably do a good job to.
This is the building in Reykjavik:
This is my story of the new regulation in Iceland. I took two COVID-19 tests and staid in quarantine for 6 days. Now it is time to get into my car and explore Iceland. I will write an article about that and make pictures so you can see what is really going on. For now, I would like to thank you for reading my story. Thank you for being a member of the Camper Iceland family.
With dearest regards,