Two regions in Denmark – Zealand and Central Jutland – are now ‘red’ regions to which travel is not advised, as are Sweden’s Östergötland, Örebro, Blekinge, Värmland, Uppsala and Dalarna.
Additionally, Iceland, Cyprus, Malta, the Netherlands and Poland have been added to the list of ‘red’ EEA and Schengen countries, to which the Norwegian government advises against leisure travel.
People arriving in Norway from ‘red’ countries are required to quarantine for 10 days.
The travel restrictions, which are usually updated on Friday, have been brought forward this week.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the country was now at the “tipping point” against the threat of a new surge of Covid-19.
It is now crucial that people in the country follow hygiene and social distancing guidelines in order to avoid a repeat of lockdowns, the PM said.
“In recent weeks, infections have increased again and we can only control the virus by working together. Everyone must dig out their community spirit at the moment we now find ourselves. We are now at the tipping point,” she said according to NRK.
“We see the same concerns around us in Europe and that is why we decided yesterday to make five more countries ‘red’,” she added.
Norway is now operating with a ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ categorisation regarding travel advice instead of the ‘red’ and ‘green’ labelling used up to now, Solberg said.
That means Norway also advises against non-essential travel to 'yellow' countries, even though these countries do not have quarantine requirements for arrivals in Norway (formerly 'green' countries).
“As the situation is now, we are advising against all foreign travel and are extending the foreign ministry’s travel advice [against all travel outside of Europe, ed.] until October 1st. Right now it’s best to stay home in Norway,” she said.
Borders will not be closed at the current time, however. Health minister Bent Høie said that increased control would be present on Norway’s frontiers.
“We are setting up test centres at selected airports, traffic stations and ports in Norway. Everything will be voluntary, but we hope everyone will make use of this option,” he said.
357 new infections of coronavirus were registered in Norway last week, an increase of 158 new infections compared to the week before.
That includes an increase in eight counties (Viken, Oslo, Trøndelag, Vestfold og Telemark, Nordland, Agder, Møre og Romsdal, Innlandet) and a fall in new infections in three (Rogaland, Vestland, Troms og Finnmark), NRK reports.
The restrictions aim to keep outbreaks at a local level so that they can be contained with follow-up measures such as contact tracing, Norwegian Directorate of Health director Bjørn Guldvog said at the government briefing.
“One thing for us to manage local outbreaks, which we can limit on an ongoing basis through responses and contact tracing. The next is if we fail to keep (outbreaks) local and get a new national outbreak. The third, which we must have plans for, is if the global situation worsens considerably. The situation in the rest of the world also affects the situation in Norway,” Guldvog said.