A court in Iceland ruled that forcing all arriving travelers to quarantine only in government-approved facilities is illegal, according to reports.
Until recently, anyone landing in the island nation from a 'high-risk' region was ordered to stay at a local hotel for either five days or until a second negative COVID test was produced.
However, the Reykjavík District Court reviewed seven cases challenging the rule and determined it to be against the law.
"What weighed heavily in the ruling was the definition of a quarantine facility in the disease prevention law. That definition implies ... that such a facility is meant for people who have no place to stay in Iceland," the Iceland Monitor reports.
Subsequently, all travelers quarantined at the high-end Fosshótel Reykjavík, where obligatory stays have been provided at taxpayer cost, were informed they were free to leave if they had access to 'suitable' accommodations as an alternative.
At least 12 people immediately exited the hotel, according to Morgunblaðið, but many more stayed.
"As things currently stand, the response to the ruling will be to inform those who are currently staying in quarantine hotels that they are free to finish their quarantine elsewhere if they have access to a suitable facility," the government said in a statement.
"However, the epidemiological authorities wish to respectfully ask those who are in quarantine at quarantine hotels to finish their quarantine there, since this is the best way to limit the spread of Covid-19."
A legal appeal was quickly dismissed by the Icelandic appellate court and the government issued new guidelines for "appropriate housing" for post-travel quarantines.
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