Travel restrictions ease around EU

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Now even Norwegians who are fully vaccinated, or already been sick with the Corona virus, can travel around most of Europe much more simply. Norway’s strict rules are being harmonized with those of the EU, which lists far more of its member nations as “green” than Norway has.

Here’s the Norwegian public health institute’s map, showing how only a few countries in Europe currently satisfy Norway’s strict entry requirements. Everyone arriving from red countries (including neighbouring Sweden) still faced quarantine this week, and 10 days of hotel quarantine if arriving from a “dark red” country like the UK, unless they’re fully vaccinated. GRAPHIC: FHI

EU Corona certificates that took effect July 1 are also being honoured in Norway, and Norway’s new Corona certificates are being honoured in the EU, since Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). Both document their holders as being fully vaccinated or as having recovered from Covid-19 within recent months.

It means that those holding them will no longer be subject to testing at the border, quarantine or registration of their arrival in other European countries or when they return to Norway.

From Monday July 5, even those who aren’t fully vaccinated but come from countries covered by the EU- and Norwegian Corona certificates can travel to several other European countries without having to undergo quarantine. Norway’s foreign ministry is also lifting its long-standing recommendation against “unnecessary travel,” meaning that Norwegians won’t be ordered into quarantine because they’ve simply been on holiday.

Here’s the map from the European Centers for Disease Control, showing many more “green” countries from which those arriving can avoid quarantine. The UK is not included, since it left the EU, so Norway’s own strict “dark red” restrictions still apply, with hotel quarantine for 10 days. GRAPHIC: ECDC

Norway will also honour the EU’s interpretation of which countries are “green” (with low infection levels) or “red and yellow,” with higher infection levels. The EU’s “Corona map” is much “greener” than Norway’s, which currently would only allow unrestricted travel to Iceland, most of Finland, Poland and Romania.

The more liberal EU map will apply from Monday, making it finally possible to return to Norway also from several areas of neighbouring Sweden without facing quarantine. Only those arriving from Jönköping, Kronoberg, Blekinge, Norrbotten, Värmland and Kalmar in Sweden are likely to remain subject to quarantine if they’re not vaccinated.

Norwegian Health Minister Bent Høie still warned, however, that those who choose to travel must familiarize themselves with the most current rules for quarantine, testing and infection control in the country to which they’re traveling. They can change frequently and on short notice.

Travelers must also be prepared for long documentation delays when re-entering Norway, currently still up to six hours at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen.

Stricter rules still apply for arrivals from outside Europe. Only Norwegian citizens and foreigners who live Norway remain assured of entry, with or without quarantine. Others arriving from outside Europe (for example the US) remain subject to quarantine unless then can present full-vaccination documentation that Norwegian authorities can verify.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund