Norway eases up on travel restrictions

Imported cases of COVID-19 still the greatest risk for a new flare-up

Erna Solberg - Norway

Photo: Annika Byrde / NTB scanpix
“We have to find a balance that keeps us as safe as possible and minimizes the risk of infection,” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg in a press conference on the coronavirus and Norway’s travel restrictions.

REGJERINGEN.NO

The Norwegian government is planning to allow people residing in the Schengen area/European Economic Area to enter Norway starting July 15, provided that they live in a country or region where the level of infection is acceptable. As of the same date, quarantine will no longer be required on entry from these countries and regions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will no longer advise against travel to countries and regions that are excepted from the rules for quarantine upon entry.

Assessments of the infection situation will be based on the criteria already set for the Nordic countries, but these can be adjusted as necessary.  

“There are some countries where the number of cases is rising rapidly, and the situation is unstable in many places. With a low rate of infection at home, imported cases of infection probably represent the greatest risk of a new flare-up in Norway. We have seen new outbreaks, often local and unpredictable, in various parts of Europe and the rest of the world. On the other hand, we cannot keep Norway’s borders closed forever. We have to find a balance that keeps us as safe as possible and minimizes the risk of infection,” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

The criteria for removing travel restrictions between Norway and the other Nordic countries include the incidence of COVID-19 (i.e., new cases) relative to population size, the number of people recently admitted to intensive care, and the proportion of positive tests. Other criteria relate to testing and infection-tracing systems, and information for people traveling.

“Even though the ministry is making exceptions from its travel advice as of July 15 for the countries recommended by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, this should not be taken as encouragement to travel. Anyone planning to travel abroad must make sure they know what restrictions and infection control rules apply in the country they are visiting,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

If there is an increase in the spread of infection so that a country or region no longer meets the criteria, the requirement to go into quarantine after entering Norway may be reintroduced.

Measures to reduce the spread of infection

“The Institute of Public Health has been asked to draw up a list of countries and regions where the infection level is acceptable. This will be updated once every two weeks, and will include the Nordic countries. We have also asked the Norwegian Directorate of Health to propose ways of avoiding an increase in the spread of infection when we lift some of the quarantine restrictions,” said Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie. 

The rules on quarantine upon entry to Norway will continue to apply after July 15 for people who are residents in countries or regions within the Schengen area/EEA where the level of infection is too high, or in countries that cannot provide sufficient documentation of the infection situation.

However, entry to Norway will be permitted for people who can produce a booking or a written agreement that documents that they will be staying at one registered address in Norway for the first 10 days of their stay here or for the entire period of their stay in Norway if this is shorter than 10 days.

This article originally appeared in the July 10, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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