Even though the Norwegian government lifted most of its Corona-related restrictions on Saturday, some will still apply for Svalbard. That’s because the Arctic archipelago controlled by Norway has limited health care facilities that need to be shielded.
Svalbard has “a more vulnerable preparedness situation” than the Norwegian mainland, according to the government, and has therefore been subject to special rules throughout the pandemic. The regulations for Svalbard differed from those on the mainland and have been contested because of the damage they’ve done to Svalbard’s important tourist industry.
The government is now lifting orders that cruiseships with infection on board must return either to the mainland or home port. Demands for testing both before and after arrival at Svalbard will, however, be maintained, as will a ban on arrivals of chartered flights from abroad.
Ongoing evaluations will be necessary and made, though, with the government asking both the state health directorate and the public health institute FHI to continue evaluating the infection risk for Svalbard. That may result in changes and an easing of the rules like those announced for Norway by the end of the month.