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Norway to bring in armed police at Oslo airport

Norway’s government has confirmed that police at Oslo’s Gardemoen Airport are to be armed.

Norway to bring in armed police at Oslo airport
File photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

Minister for justice and security Per-Willy Amundsen confirmed the government’s stance on Thursday, reports VG.

“The National Police Directorate [Politidirektorate] has asked to be armed and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security has agreed to temporary armament at Oslo Airport. The armament will initially apply for three months,” Amundsen said.

Dag Falk-Petersen, director of Oslo Airport’s operating company Avinor, told broadcaster NRK that global threat levels required armed police at all of Norway’s major airports.

“Gardemoen is obviously key, but we think the police should be armed at all of our largest airports,” Falk-Petersen said.

Chief of Police Steven Hasseldal, though not a supporter of armed police in Norway in general, will implement the measure at Oslo’s airport as soon as possible and possible by as soon as Friday, reports VG.

“This initiative is necessary in order to avoid and limit potential terror attacks at Gardemoen,” he said.

The necessity of the measure is also connected to a large increase of passenger traffic at the airport following its expansion and the building of new terminals, Hasseldal added.

In a press statement, Oslo Airport’s security department said that large, open areas at the airport are accessible with relatively few security measures and many travellers passing through.

Amundsen said that the potential for damage caused by a terror attack at Gardemoen was significant.

“It is therefore important that police, in a dangerous situation, are able to limit the damage caused by such an act. We want to do that by arming them,” he said according to VG’s report. 

READ ALSO: British anti-terror expert warns Norway over security against vehicle attacks

TRAVEL

Oslo Airport sees uptick in arrivals ahead of new Covid-19 quarantine rules

Oslo's Gardermoen airport, the largest in Norway, has seen passengers move their trips forward to avoid incoming tightening of Covid-19 entry quarantine rules.

Oslo Airport sees uptick in arrivals ahead of new Covid-19 quarantine rules
AFP PHOTO / Hakon Mosvold Larsen (Photo by Hakon Mosvold Larsen / SCANPIX NORWAY / AFP)

The municipal director who is responsible for the quarantine hotels in Ullensaker, where the airport is located, confirmed the trend to newspaper VG.

“We had a relatively tough weekend, because we believe that those who have become aware that they would be put into quarantine hotels have now arrived much earlier, at the beginning of the Easter holidays,” municipal director Gunhild Grimstad-Kirkeby told VG.

New quarantine hotel rules come into effect from Monday, meaning that anybody arriving in Norway on trips that aren’t considered necessary foreign travel will have to check into quarantine hotels. The rules will tighten further on April 1st.

The earliest opportunity to leave the quarantine hotel would be 7 days after arriving and only if you return a negative test. Previously, Norwegian citizens and residents were allowed to quarantine at home.

The latest government information on rules relating to coronavirus quarantine hotels can be found in English here.

READ ALSO:

Ullensaker has opened an additional quarantine hotel to help it cope with demand. Grimstad-Kirkeby estimated that there are 1,000-2,000 people currently in quarantine hotels around Oslo Airport Gardermoen.

“It was high pressure on Friday, a little less on Saturday and a little less on Sunday. If I am to assume based on the forecasts I have received there will be a decline in arrivals on Monday (when the new rules come into place),” she said.

Travelers at the hotels must pay a 500 kroner per-day subsidy for adults and 250 kroner per-day subsidy for children aged between 10-18.

On April 1st those arriving in Norway must also provide a negative PCR test that has been taken within 24 hours of their departure flight. Once in Norway, they must take a rapid coronavirus test at the airport or border and wait at the test station until the result is returned. If they are travelling for non-essential reasons, they will be required to quarantine regardless of test results.

Foreign nationals who are unable to meet the requirements will be denied entry and Norwegian citizens and residents will receive fines, Justice Minister, Monica Mæland, told VG. Mæland also said there has been a slight increase in travel activity this Easter.

“We meet this (increased travel) with stricter rules. Some disagree and some still travel, we must have a system in place to ensure that we do not get increased infection rates after Easter,” she said.

“The police will decide the size of the fine in each individual case, and there can be imprisonment for up to six months. We have seen examples of some quite hefty fines already. We will do everything we can to prevent import infection,” she said in regard to the potential punishments for those who break the new rules.

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