As travelling has started to happen again, slowly and cautiously, the global tourism sector is starting to get revived, too. But the countries which are opening up their borders to foreign tourists to come and stay for a while, are also mandating some safety rules — among them is the submission of negative COVID-19 test report.
While Iceland was one of the first few countries to have reopened its borders to visitors in June, it tested all travellers for COVID-19, allowing those who tested negative to bypass quarantine, and those who tested positive to self-isolate for 14 days. But upon experiencing a second wave, the country tightened its restrictions in August, the Insider reports, adding that right now, tourists going to the country have the option to choose between simply quarantining for 14 days, or taking a test upon arrival, quarantining for five days, and then taking another test.
But beginning December 10, any traveller arriving from the European Economic Area (EEA), who can present documents to prove they have already had and recovered from the coronavirus infection, can skip both testing-upon-arrival and quarantine, the outlet mentions.
But experts do not agree. While many people are led to believe that once infected, the body develops the immunity to combat a second invasion, it is not certain as to how long this immunity lasts.
“Without conclusive data on reinfection risk, Iceland should not bank on previous infection providing immunity,” Dr Danielle C Ompad, associate dean for education at the NYU School of Global Public Health, was quoted as telling the outlet.
Agreeing, Dr William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine told the Insider: “We really don’t know definitively for how long immunity, that is protection from reinfection, will last after you recover from the virus.”
Even the tests created to determine immunity are new and may not be entirely accurate, he further said.