British travel boss persuades Iceland to accept NHS vaccination card as proof of jab

Simon Calder
·2-min read
Fresh air: the north coast of Iceland (Simon Calder)
Fresh air: the north coast of Iceland (Simon Calder)

A British tour operator has persuaded Iceland’s prime minister to permit UK holidaymakers to be admitted on production of an NHS vaccination card.

Clive Stacey, who founded Discover the World in 1983, has just returned from the North Atlantic nation where he had a successful meeting with the leader, Katrín Jakobsdottir.

Mr Stacey told The Independent: “She put me in contact with the people involved in travel decisions.

“They had a look at the card, and said, ‘There’s a few things missing, but we can’t see why it won’t work along with a passport’.”

Iceland is expected to be one of very few European countries to feature on the so-called “green list” of countries from which travellers to the UK need not quarantine.

The sub-Arctic nation is already accepting visitors from the US who have been vaccinated.

“The travel industry is ready to go, they’re very excited. A reasonable number of Americans are coming in,” Mr Stacey said.

UK holidaymakers are banned until 17 May because of the current lockdown rules.

“We are all set to carry vaccinated clients to Iceland from 17 May, should the country be on the green list,” Mr Stacey said.

“Iceland has everything under control, and their track and trace system must be amongst the best in the world.

For vaccinated travellers, the admission rules are straightforward.

“All those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have a prior Covid infection can travel to Iceland without being subject to triple testing and quarantine,” the Icelandic government says.

“Passengers will need to undergo one test upon arrival due to the indication that those individuals can pass on infections. They are not required to stay in quarantine but shall wait for the result of the test at their place of stay and follow the rules of quarantine until results.”

The results are typically available after six hours.

Children aged 16 and under are allowed to travel with their vaccinated parents and must simply take a test on arrival.

The Icelandic authorities will review the admissions policy on 1 June and may decide to open up the country to British visitors, regardless of their vaccination status.

At present the Geldingadalir volcano is erupting on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula, southwest of the capital, Reykjavik, and close to the international airport at Keflavik. But unlike Eyjafjallajokull, which brought havoc to the skies of Europe in April 2010 due to the ash cloud it created, ash is not being ejected.

Mr Stacey reports: “The volcano which erupted first around five weeks ago is still bubbling away and is a wonderful sight. I joined a group of happy Icelanders to view it about a week ago and managed to not only enjoy the eruption itself but a spectacular show of the northern lights.”

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, is expected to reveal the “no-quarantine” nations on the green list later this week.

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