Norway PM Solberg rules out Swedish exemption to coronavirus border rules

Norway PM Solberg rules out Swedish exemption to coronavirus border rules
Norway's PM Erna Solberg says she will not make any exceptions to her country's coronavirus travel restrictions for neighbouring Sweden. Photo: AFP
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has told her Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven that Norway will not fully open its border with its Scandinavian neighbour.

Solberg made Norway’s position clear during a video meeting between the two Nordic government leaders on Monday, news wire NTB reports.

“It is clear that the Swedes would have like us to be more liberal on the question of borders,” Solberg told NTB.

“But we have a system in place that we are very consistent on, and we are going to continue with that,” she added.

After closing its borders at the outset of the pandemic, 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.

Arrivals from the vast majority of countries in Europe are now required to observe a 10-day quarantine period on arrival in Norway.

For fellow Nordic countries, Norway's health authorities judge on a regional basis, so some Swedish regions can be exempted from quarantine while others remain encompassed by it.

People from Blekinge, Gotland, Kalmar, Norrboten, Södermanland, Värmland, Västernorrland and Åland are currently not required to quarantine on arrival in Norway. People from all other Swedish regions must quarantine. The regional restrictions are updated weekly.

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Norway has a number of circumstances which may exempt you from quarantine rules, include crossing borders between Sweden and Norway for work reasons. The specific details of these exemptions can be complex. If you think you might be encompassed, you can check in more detail on the Helsenorge (Health Norway) website here.

Solberg said on Monday that she recognised the concerns of politicians in Sweden over Norway’s coronavirus travel restrictions.

“I can see the difficulties for them with jobs near the border which have been dependent on Norwegian border shopping,” she said to NTB.

“But we are more concerned with the virus situation,” she added.

Norway enforces its quarantine requirement on EU, EEA and Schengen countries or Nordic regions if the rate of new coronavirus infections is more than 20 cases per 100,000 people for the last two weeks.

“We have seen that we have had infections close to the Swedish border, not least in Indre Østfold (Municipality), which can be traced to some infections being brought over the border,” Solberg said.

She also pointed out that the regionalised approach within the Nordic countries has allowed more open travel from some parts of Sweden even when the country as a whole would qualify for quarantine.


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