Norway likely to add UK, Ireland to list of ‘red’ quarantine countries

Norway likely to add UK, Ireland to list of 'red' quarantine countries
A commuter at Waterloo Station in London. Photo: AFP
The Norwegian Institute for Public Health has said it will recommend the country advises against travel to a string of new countries this week, including Ireland and the United Kingdom as well part of Denmark, including Copenhagen.

Austria and Greece are also set to be added to the list of ‘red’ countries, as is Denmark’s Capital region, which includes Copenhagen.

The Norwegian Institute for Public Health (NIPH) regularly updates its list of EEA and Schengen area countries which meet and do not meet the country's criteria for safe travel (the rate of new coronavirus infections must be less than 20 cases per 100,000 people).

NIPH makes recommendations to the foreign ministry based on this list and new travel guidelines have usually come into effect at the end of each week.

According to an NIPH statement Tuesday, the UK (20.7 infections per 100,000 residents), Ireland (22.3), Greece (22.5), Austria (23.3) and Region Hovedstaden/Capital in Denmark (24) are now over the threshold.

That means that, improvements in the current figures notwithstanding, those countries and the Danish region will go 'red' by the end of this week.

Sweden’s region Norrbotten (19.2) is likely to go from ‘red’ to the lower advisory level of ‘yellow’ following an improvement in infection numbers.

Once a country is ‘red', the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel that is not strictly necessary to that country, and self-quarantine is required for travellers returning or arriving from it. 

In Norway, 'home quarantine' including for people arriving from 'red' countries means that person is asked to stay home from school or work, not have visitors, not use public transport and only visit shops or pharmacies if strictly necessary or not at all if it is not possible to maintain social distance. You may have normal contact with people you live with who are not in quarantine. You are also allowed to go outside for a walk if you maintain a one-metre distance from others at all times.

If you later suspect you have symptoms of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself completely and get tested for the virus. More details can be found on the health authority website.

For fellow Nordic countries, Norway's health authorities judge on a regional basis, which means parts of Sweden and later Denmark have been made ‘red’ without the restrictions applying to those countries as a whole.

Norway is now operating with a ‘red' and ‘yellow' categorisation regarding travel advice instead of the ‘red' and ‘green' labelling previously used.

The Norwegian foreign ministry also advises against non-essential travel to 'yellow' countries, but these countries do not have quarantine requirements for arrivals in Norway. If a European country is ‘green’ (none currently are) that means the foreign ministry does not advise against travel there.

Travel to all countries outside the EU, EEA, UK and Schengen countries is not advised unless “strictly necessary”. Norway has not opened its borders to tourists from outside the European Union/EEA and Schengen countries.

The NIPH bases its recommendations on figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the EU agency monitoring the data, as well as national health authorities.

READ ALSO: 'A recommendation and not a law': Norway trusts public over face mask guidelines


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