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Norway to scrap Covid-19 entry quarantine for all travellers

The Norwegian government will scrap its Covid-19 entry quarantine rules for all arrivals on Wednesday.

A plane at Oslo Gardermoen.
The governemnt will scrap its quarantine rules for all travellers, regardless of their vaccination status. Pictured is a plane at Gardermoen airport. Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

From Wednesday, January 26th, travellers arriving in Norway will no longer be required to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status or whether they have a valid Covid-19 certificate.

Under the current rules, only travellers who are fully vaccinated and in possession of a recognised Covid-19 certificate, such as the common EU solution or NHS Covid Pass app, are able to skip quarantine upon entry into Norway.

This has meant that fully vaccinated travellers without a pass recognised by Norwegian authorities have had to undergo a 10-day quarantine period, which can be shortened after testing on day three of isolation, when arriving from an area that triggers a quarantine obligation. Unvaccinated travellers are also able to skip quarantine under the new rules. 

The rule will come as a boost to travellers from outside the European Economic Area or EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), as arriving from a non-EEA country, excluding the UK, automatically triggered a quarantine obligation unless you met the Covid-19 certificate and vaccination requirements.

The rule change was announced on the government’s website, and the decision comes following a recommendation from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH). The NIPH said that travellers without a valid Covid-19 certificate accounted for 7 percent of all arrivals and only 4 percent of total infection cases, meaning the quarantine period was “of little significance” to the development of the pandemic in Norway.

“I agree with the NIPH that the proportion of infected among arrivals without a Covid certificate is so small related to the infection situation in Norway, that the time has come to change the requirement for entry quarantine,” Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol said in a statement.

Travellers who aren’t fully vaccinated or possess a valid Covid certificate will still be required to test 24 hours before departure. All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, must test at the border after arriving and register their entry into Norway.

If the testing station is busy upon arrival, travellers will be asked to take a rapid test at home or where they will be staying while in Norway. If this test returns positive, they will need to take a PCR test. If this test returns positive, they will be required to isolate.  

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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