Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger have all begun refusing to allow cruise passengers to disembark, for fear they’ll spread the Corona virus. On Thursday, Norway’s own Hurtigruten passenger and cargo ships were turned away from northern ports as well.
“We still don’t have any Corona infection here and we want to keep it that way as long as possible,” Dr Ingebjørn Bleidvin, head of the local health services in Hadsel in scenic Vesterålen, told state broadcaster NRK. As Corona spreads in Norway, with the first death reported Thursday evening, drastic measures are being imposed both nationally and locally.
“Travelers from outside our region present the greatest chance of bringing in infection,” Bleidvin told NRK. Bodø also is restricting ship passengers from disembarking, as are a growing list of coastal cities and communities including Molde, Ålesund, Brønnøysund, Stokmarknes, Risøyhamn, Sortland and both Svolvær and Stamsund on Lofoten.
Local residents using the coastal Hurtigruten ships as a mode of transport are exempted. Tourists are believed to pose a bigger threat, along with crowding in small communities.
In Bergen, officials said the ban on cruise passengers is aimed at limiting overcrowding in the city and reducing the possibility for Corona infection.