Instructions for persons under home-based isolation

[Icelandic Polish - Spanish - Lithuanian]


Quarantine is used when a person is possibly infected with a disease but is not yet symptomatic.

Isolation applies to patients with symptoms of infectious disease.

The Chief Epidemiologist is authorized to take such measures according to article 12 of the Act on Health Security and Communicable Diseases. A request for justification for a decision on quarantine or isolation shall be directed to the Chief Epidemiologist. More information on the obligation of individuals to be quarantined or isolated or undergo testing for COVID-19 can be found here.



Individuals who are suspected to have COVID-19 infection or are laboratory confirmed and do not require hospital stay, should be isolated at home or in a location specified by the Department of Civil Protection or the health care service. A person with a confirmed COVID-19 infection should be in isolation for 7 days from diagnosis.

  • Detailed information on infection pathways and symptoms of COVID-19 can be found on the website of the Directorate of Health and
  • Aerosols, droplet and contact contamination spread the disease. This means that there is risk of spreading the virus when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose, and a healthy person inhales these aerosols or droplets or they land on their hands and they then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • If interaction with others is inevitable, the patient should pay close attention to hand hygiene and wear a facemask. If a facemask is not available, covering their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing is important. The tissue should be discarded into a plastic bag immediately after use and hands cleaned thoroughly.
  • A person in isolation should stay in the household and have contact with as few people as possible.
    • A person in isolation must not leave the household unless necessary, e.g. to seek necessary health care services, after consulting with the COVID-19 clinic/primary care service/1700 (+354 544 4113)/112. Routine medical or dental check-ups, attending physiotherapy or visits to medical specialists that are not related to the COVID-19 virus are not considered essential health care while in isolation and all such service should be rescheduled.
    • If illness (worsening COVID-19 disease or other illness) or an accident occurs while in isolation and medical attention is required, the person who contacts the health care services should notify the responder of the need for isolation precautions. This allows the responder to arrange the necessary precautions for the medical staff involved in providing care, but should NOT delay or inhibit access to necessary healthcare.
    • A person in isolation must not use public transport or taxis. If she/he needs to seek necessary health care services, she/he may use a private car if she/he, or someone that is also in isolation in his household, is able to drive, otherwise ambulance assistance should be obtained by calling 1700 (+354 544 4113)/112.
    • A person in isolation must not attend school or work with other people. A medical certificate from or the COVID-19 outpatient clinic might be needed. Employers have been instructed to be considerate of the need for isolation for an employee until they are fit to come to work again.
    • The patient must not attend any gatherings, whether it concerns his work, family or social life. For example, work meetings or gatherings, union meetings, confirmations, funerals, home-based social gatherings, choir rehearsal, concerts, etc.
    • The patient must not visit fitness centers, swimming pools, theatres, cinemas, shopping malls, or other places where people come together.
    • The patient must not himself go for supplies/necessities, i.e. pharmacy, grocery store, post office, banks, etc.
    • The patient must not stay in shared spaces in apartment buildings, i.e. stairwell, laundry rooms, or shared yards/outdoor areas. Hand hygiene is very important and common surfaces such as elevator buttons should be sanitized by the individual in quarantine after they are touched.
    • The patient may not welcome guests in the home during isolation.
    • The patient can go out to a private balcony or garden. If there are other people there, the patient must go inside again and pay attention to hand hygiene before touching door handles etc.
    • Individual in isolation may pass through common hallways and entryways on his/her way in or out but cannot dwell there and needs to keep at least 2 m distance from others. It is preferable to take the stairs than the elevator if possible but othewise the individual should not share the elevator with others and avoid touching common surface areas but clean those that are touched with disinfectant wipes.
    • Individual in isolation can take out the trash if healthy enough, if there are no others in the household that can do it. The isolated individual should wear a facemask if he is likely to meet others in shared spaces, and carry a tissue to use when coughing and sneezing and clean hands before and after opening the garbage chute/trashcan/trash room and wipe of any handles with 70% alcohol or other disinfectants after contact.
  • Contact with other people should be strictly limited.
  • Ideally, isolation is on an individual basis. A family/group who shares the same exposure can be quarantined together but run the risk of extending their own quarantine and may increase their own risk of infection, for example if they cannot maintain the proper distance from the isolated person(s), or if others fall ill during the quarantine. Family members who are well should stay beyond 2-meter distance from the patient as much as possible and pay careful attention to hygiene.
    • If part of the household is in isolation, other members of the same household must be under quarantine if they were around the patient first became symptomatic.
    • Quarantine in a household where someone is in isolation ends with testing after the isolation has been lifted. Other household members in quarantine can expect that their quarantine will last one day longer than the isolation and they should not be tested until the isolation has been lifted.
    • Windows in shared spaces should be kept open, such as kitchen and bathroom.
    • Shared spaces and contact surfaces should be cleaned thoroughly, such as the handle of the refrigerator, light switches and doorknobs.
    • The patient should sleep in a separate room from others, or a separate bed if another room is not available.
    • The patient should have access to toilet facilities for their use only. If this is not possible, a separate towel is necessary and common surfaces should be disinfected after each use, for example the door handles, faucets, toilet-flushing mechanism etc.
    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after contact with the patient or his environment. (see guidelines on hand hygiene and infection prevention on the Directorate of Health´s website),
    • Tissues used by the patient for covering or wiping the face should be disposed of immediately in a plastic bag, which can then be discarded in the general trash receptacles.
    • Hand sanitizer should be accessible in the patient‘s environment.
  • A patient in isolation may need assistance with necessities.
    • When the whole household is in isolation or quarantine, friends and relatives may assist with necessities and leave at the front door. However, special rules do apply for those with three vaccinations, or those with two vaccinations and previous COVID-19 infection.
    • If delivery of food and other necessities is available in the area, this service can be utilized during quarantine.
    • It is possible to contact the Red Cross for necessities if needed. Anyone that is quarantined in Iceland can contact the Red Cross helpline at 1717 (+354 580 1710 for foreign numbers) or online at There you can ask for assistance, get support or information and talk to someone in confidence. The helpline is open 24/7 is free of charge.
    • If the patient requires assistance or care, the same person should provide it for the duration of illness.
    • Avoid direct contact with secretions (mucus, vomit, stool etc.). Keep single use gloves handy for use if contact with secretions is unavoidable.
    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after contact with the patient or his environment.
  • A COVID-19 questionnaire will appear on My pages (Mínar síður) on Heilsuvera, under “Questionnaires” in the menu on the left hand side of the page.
    • The patient must measure and record their body temperature daily.
    • If a patient develops worsening symptoms they should fill out the questionnaire in Heilsuvera and can there request a phone call from the COVID-19 clinic. Otherwise the primary care on-call service can be contacted via web chat at or by phone at 1700 (on an Icelandic line) or +354 544 4113 (from any phone).
    • If a patient under isolation becomes suddenly seriously ill requiring transfer to hospital by ambulance, when calling 112 the suspicion of or confirmed COVID-19 infection must be made clear.

When is isolation lifted after a confirmed COVID-19 infection?

A person with a confirmed COVID-19 infection should be in isolation for 7 days from diagnosis. They day of diagnosis is day zero (positive PCR test). Physicians at the Landspitali COVID-19 outpatient clinic can extend isolation on the basis of a medical assessment. COVID-19 outpatient clinic staff arranges discharge.

Continued careful attention to hygiene and hand washing is strongly recommended for 14 days after discharge. After the period of isolation individuals should continue to avoid contact with vulnerable groups for 14 days. Health care services, convalescent homes, daycares for the elderly or those with special needs, and similar instiutions, where vulnerable people reside, should set their own rules regarding return to work after COVID-19 illness.

Special circumstances:

  • Asymptomatic individuals: Individuals must be afebrile and without any symptoms of illness, such as lethargy, aches, cough, shortness of breath or runny nose.
  • Cohabitants together in quarantine and isolation: Quarantine of a cohabitant of an individual in isolation can be lifted at the same time and isolation is lifted when there is not full sepation between the individuals. The quarantine is then lifted with a negative PCR test taken after isolation is lifted. Cohabitants should expect quarantine to last one day longer than the isolation of the patient. This applies to all individuals living together, including children. Special rules apply for those with three vaccinations, or two vaccinations and previous COVID-19 infection (see instructions for quarantine).
  • Cohabitants all in isolation together: The first individual can be discharged (as above) despite the fact that others remain in isolation. It is important that the recovered person cleans him/herself well before leaving the home. It must also be ensured that clothing and other items that are taken out of the home are clean.
    It is important that all members of the household adhere to strict personal hygiene and thoroughly clean the house when everyone´s isolation is lifted.
    Cohabitants applies to everyone in the same home, including children.
  • Health care staff: Same rules apply as for others. However, special consideration must be taken regarding certain job descriptions involving vulnerable populations. Physician and supervisor will consider this on a case-by-case basis.


Fyrst birt 04.11.2020
Síðast uppfært 10.01.2022

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