Current Affairs Iceland Travel

Where the Puffins and the Glaciers Roam…and Beyond

Like most people who leisure travel on the regular, I’m jonesing to get on an airplane and . . . go somewhere. I’m also concerned about potential exposure to the novel coronavirus because I am not interested in contracting COVID-19, mild case or not. The last few days I’ve been weighing whether it might be possible, though, to hop a plane in a month or two.

Iceland–which has done a spectacularly good job of dealing with COVID-19– is planning to reopen to international travelers (including Americans) on June 15, although arrivals will be required to either quarantine, present a CV19 negative health certificate, or be CV19-tested upon arrival (free testing for the first two weeks, with a likely cost of around $200 after that). The EU may extend their ban of traveling Americans through to July, though, which may or may not impact Iceland’s plans.

That said, the ban (from the EU) could certainly extend for longer. German interior minister Horst Seehofer said, “Visitors from the United States, Russia, or Brazil, for example, would only be allowed back into Europe based on how those nations have brought the spread of the virus under control.” And if that’s the criteria, well . . . things are not going well in many places. U.S. states may be going through phased reopenings of businesses, etc. and trying to be positive, but meatpacking plants continue to see an increase in new cases–and on Friday Florida’s Department of Health reported a new single day record for coronavirus cases since the state began reopening.

As June begins, we’re at 1.9 million cases and close to 110,000 deaths in the U.S. While the number of new cases slowed in May (1.4 million) after surging dramatically in April (up from 213,602 cases), more than a dozen states have seen confirmed cases increase in the last week at a pace faster than in the week prior. The longer the pandemic continues, the more lax Americans become about maintaining protections to keep them safe. I’ve seen it first-hand at grocery stores, and heard it from family members, particularly those in rural areas–where CV19 often hasn’t hit its peak yet.

The justice actions to stand up against racism and police brutality that have been happening around the country have included people doing all they can to continue to physically distance and wear masks, but it’s safe to say that there will be a jump in cases because of those that haven’t taken precautions, and particularly because of many responding police not masking up and not giving those arrested accommodation to avoid CV19 exposure. All that to say the US is not doing a a great job of preventing the spread of the virus, and we have no federal leadership around the effort (or, if we do, it’s weak and ineffective)–which makes it more likely that early July will be come early August or early September in terms of the EU reopening to Americans.

I’m trying to think positive, really I am–because this girl needs an escape.

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