The Norwegian Government is introducing several measures with immediate effect to limit and delay the spread of the new virus variant that was detected in South Africa.
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‘We must delay and limit the spread of the virus variant detected in South Africa to Norway. This is why we are now tightening measures for travellers from this area,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.
'The pandemic has taken a negative direction. It is the goal of the health authorities to delay the spread in Norway. The Norwegian Government is therefore introducing targeted entry restrictions to limit imported cases of COVID-19 from these countries in Southern Africa. This means increased border control and a duty to stay at a quarantine hotel for travellers from the countries in question,’ states Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl.
The new measures are based on advice and recommendations from the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
New advice and rules
The measures apply to the following countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Malawi. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs now advises against non-essential travel to these countries. This advice will be assessed continually in consultation with the health authorities.
The following measures will enter into effect on Saturday 27 November at 12 am.
- Introduction of a ban on direct flights from these countries.
- All people who arrive in Norway after having visited the countries in question are under an obligation to get tested before arrival, upon arrival, and 7 days after arrival. They must also complete 10 days of travel quarantine, even if they can present documentation that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19.
- The travel quarantine must be completed at a quarantine hotel. If a person receives a negative result from a PCR test taken no sooner than 3 days after arrival, the rest of the travel quarantine may be completed in their own home or other suitable accommodation where it is possible to avoid close contact with others and stay in a private bedroom with a separate bathroom and kitchen or food service. They may end travel quarantine early if they present a negative result from a PCR test taken no sooner than 7 days after arrival.
- People who have visited the countries in question after 16 November 2021, and who arrived in Norway before 26 November 2021, must get tested for SARS-CoV-2 as soon as possible using a PCR test. These people must take a test, even if they got tested before 26 November 2021. It is recommended that they go into travel quarantine for 10 days from their arrival date.
- Children under the age of 18 who arrive alone, and diplomats, may complete travel quarantine in their own home or other suitable accommodation where it is possible to avoid close contact with others and stay in a private bedroom with a separate bathroom and kitchen or food service. They are nonetheless under an obligation to get tested.
- In order to ensure that travellers from these areas comply with the duty to take a test and to quarantine, the police will implement targeted control of travellers who arrive from these countries.
‘It is very important that this advice and these rules are complied with. We are all responsible for helping to limit the spread as much as possible,’ says Ms Kjerkol.
May be more contagious
The virus variant that was detected in South Africa is of concern because it appears to spread very quickly. Experts also fear that this variant is able to bypass immunity through vaccination. Knowledge is lacking as to whether the virus variant results in greater illness. As the virus variant was detected so recently, it is too early to make any conclusions, but the situation is being closely monitored.
Entry restrictions tightened
The Norwegian Government recently tightened the entry restrictions. You can find more information about this here. Link to previous press releases.