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COVID-19 TESTS

These are the new Covid-19 rules for travelling to Norway

Travellers entering Norway no longer need to get tested for Covid-19 at the border.

Coming into Gardermoen Airport outside Oslo will be less strenuous after the Norwegian government scrapped the mandatory border testing scheme.
These are the current travel rules for Norway. Pictured is a plane. Photo by Iwan Shimko on Unsplash

Travelling to Norway has gotten easier after the Norwegian government decided to scrap the testing scheme in place to detect cases of Covid-19 at the border, alongside most other pandemic restrictions, during a press conference on Tuesday evening.

The new rules, which took effect at 11pm on February 1st, will mean an end to queuing to get tested at the airport or other border crossing checkpoints – a time consuming and costly scheme that has been subject to criticism in Norway.

Vaccinated travellers now face no restrictions when entering Norway from abroad, according to the new travel rules, which are summed up in a government press release

Unvaccinated travellers will however have to get tested before their journey, unless they can document that they have recently recovered from Covid-19.

All travellers must continue to register their journey digitally prior to arrival.

The government has yet to update the travel rules on its website, but these are usually published in both English and Norwegian shortly following announcements.

Earlier in the pandemic, Norway put in place one of the strictest travel schemes in Europe, at one point requiring all travellers from European countries with high incidences of Covid-19 to quarantine in hotels for several upon arrival

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COVID-19 RULES

Norway scraps almost all remaining Covid-19 restrictions

Norway has scrapped almost all remaining Covid-19 restrictions, doing away with its face mask and self-isolation requirements, ending the one-metre rule, and limiting testing to those with symptoms.

Norway scraps almost all remaining Covid-19 restrictions

“The one-metre rule is disappearing. We are taking away the recommendation on social distancing,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters at a press conference.

“Now we can now socialise like we did before, in nightlife, at cultural events and other social occasions. And on the way to and from work on buses, trains and ferries,” he said.

Norway’s decision to lift restrictions comes four days after Sweden lifted its restrictions on Wednesday, and twelve days after Denmark did on February 1st. 

Støre put the change in restrictions to the shift in infections towards the milder Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus. 

“We can ease the restrictions because Omicron does not cause as serious disease as previous variants. Even though the infection rate is rising, the proportion who end up in hospital is low. We are well protected with the vaccine,” he said. “We can treat Covid-19 like other diseases.” 

Among the changes, which apply from 10am on Saturday morning, are:  

  • The one-metre rule is abolished 
  • The requirement to wear face masks is abolished 
  • Only adults with symptoms are now advised to get tested for Covid-19 
  • The requirement to self-isolate for four days has been downgraded to a recommendation
  • Kindergarten children and school pupils should stay home if ill, but can return after one fever-free day 
  • All remaining requirements to show a negative test on arrival at the Norwegian border have been scrapped

Those who are unable or unwilling to get vaccinated and those in vulnerable groups are still recommended to wear face masks. 

Under the new testing requirements, those who test positive using an antigen or lateral flow test at home are asked to register the positive test in their local municipality’s infection tracking system. 

Gahr Store stressed however that “the pandemic is not over”, and advised unvaccinated people and those in risk groups to continue practising social distancing and wear masks where social distancing is not possible.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) said the country had yet to see the peak of the Omicron surge, but it was expected soon.

The agency’s director Camilla Stoltenberg told reporters the number of Covid hospitalisations had risen by 40 percent in the past week.

As of Friday, 986,851 cases and 1,440 virus-related deaths had been recorded in Norway, where more than 91 percent of the population has received at least two doses of the vaccine.

FHI estimates that three to four million people from a population of 5.4 million may be infected by this summer.

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