UPDATE: Which European countries are on Norway’s ‘red’ quarantine list?

Norway has issued updated rules for travellers arriving from certain countries. Here's the latest information on who has to quarantine and who doesn't.

UPDATE: Which European countries are on Norway's 'red' quarantine list?
Map correct as of August 20th 2020. Photo: Datawrapper

The Norwegian government has updated the restrictions on travellers from certain countries in its battle to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Following advice from health authorities, Italy will be added to the foreign ministry's list of ‘red' countries, effective September 5th. The Vatican City State, San Marino and Slovenia will also be added to the list.

All travellers arriving in Norway from these countries from September 5th will be required to spend 10 days in quarantine.

The requirement is set to be lifted for Cyprus, however.

Two regions in Denmark – Greater Copenhagen (Hovedstaden) and Central Jutland – are currently ‘red' regions to which travel is not advised. In Sweden, Södermanland, Norrbotten, Örebro, Gotland, Värmland, Västernorrland, Jämtland and Västerbotten are currently ‘yellow’ while the rest of the country is ‘red’. People arriving in Norway from ‘red' countries or regions are required to quarantine for 10 days.

No countries are classed as 'green' at the current time. Norway is now operating with a ‘red' and ‘yellow' categorisation regarding travel advice.

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 had no foreign ministry advisories against against travelling to them, but no countries are currently being considered 'green'.

READ ALSO: Norway announces extended travel restrictions: all 'green' countries now 'yellow'

Norway lifted travel restrictions with most EEA and Schengen area countries on July 15th, but rising infections in Europe have resulted in a gradual re-tightening of guidelines and rules.

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. Health authorities base their recommendations on figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the EU agency monitoring the data.

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. 

For fellow Nordic countries, Norway's health authorities judge on a regional basis, so parts of a country can be rated 'green' or 'yellow' if the rate of new coronavirus infections is less than 20 cases per 100,000 people for the last two weeks, even if the rate for the country as a whole qualifies it as ‘red’. Conversely, regions can be 'red' even though the country as a whole might be in the 'yellow' bracket.

Who can come as a tourist to Norway? 

Norway's borders are not closed at the current time, so tourists from countries and regions classed as 'yellow' are able to travel to Norway without spending ten days in quarantine. Tourists from 'red' countries are subject to quarantine.

So far Norway has not opened up to tourists from outside the European Union/EEA and Schengen countries, although certain categories of people can travel to Norway from outside the EU. They will have to quarantine however.

For more information on travel to Norway from outside the EU/Schengen area click here.

What does quarantine involve?

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.

Countries designated ‘yellow' are not encompassed by the quarantine rule but the foreign ministry also advises against travel to these countries.

What about tourism to countries classed as ‘red’? 

Norway's foreign ministry only advises travel to countries in the EU which are classed as ‘red’ if it is “strictly necessary”. The same goes for all countries outside the EU, EEA and Schengen countries. 

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Could Oslo-Copenhagen overnight train be set for return?

A direct overnight rail service between the Norwegian and Danish capitals has not operated since 2001, but authorities in Oslo are considering its return.

Norway’s transport minister Knut Arild Hareide has asked the country’s railway authority Jernbanedirektoratet to investigate the options for opening a night rail connection between Oslo and Copenhagen.

An answer is expected by November 1st, after which the Norwegian government will decide whether to go forward with the proposal to directly link the two Nordic capitals by rail.

Jernbanedirektoratet is expected to assess a timeline for introducing the service along with costs, market and potential conflicts with other commercial services covering the route.

“I hope we’ll secure a deal. Cross-border trains are exciting, including taking a train to Malmö, Copenhagen and onwards to Europe,” Hareide told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The minister said he envisaged either a state-funded project or a competition awarding a contract for the route’s operation to the best bidder.

A future Oslo-Copenhagen night train rests on the forthcoming Jernbanedirektoratet report and its chances of becoming a reality are therefore unclear. But the Norwegian rail authority earlier this year published a separate report on ways in which passenger train service options from Norway to Denmark via Sweden can be improved.

“We see an increasing interest in travelling out of Norway by train,” Jernbanedirektoratet project manager  Hanne Juul said in a statement when the report was published in January.

“A customer study confirmed this impression and we therefore wish to make it simpler to take the train to destinations abroad,” Juul added.

Participants in the study said that lower prices, fewer connections and better information were among the factors that would encourage them to choose the train for a journey abroad.

Norway’s rail authority also concluded that better international cooperation would optimise cross-border rail journeys, for example by making journey and departure times fit together more efficiently.

The Femahrn connection between Denmark and Germany, currently under construction, was cited as a factor which could also boost the potential for an overland rail connection from Norway to mainland Europe.

Night trains connected Oslo to Europe via Copenhagen with several departures daily as recently as the late 1990s, but the last such night train between the two cities ran in 2001 amid dwindling demand.

That trend has begun to reverse in recent years due in part to an increasing desire among travellers to select a greener option for their journey than flying.

Earlier this summer, a new overnight train from Stockholm to Berlin began operating. That service can be boarded by Danish passengers at Høje Taastrup near Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany