Norway extends ban on incoming flights from UK until after Christmas

Norway extends ban on incoming flights from UK until after Christmas
People at Heathrow Airport on December 21st. Photo: AFP
Norway has extended a ban on all direct passenger flights from the United Kingdom to Norway due to the discovery of a faster-spreading variant of Covid-19.

The ban, announced Monday, was effective for an initial two days but will now stay in place until December 26th.

Norway’s health ministry has not ruled out extending the ban until January, broadcaster NRK reports.

Flights from the UK have been banned due to the discovery of a faster-spreading variant of Covid-19, particularly in London and other parts of southeastern England.

The new variant of the coronavirus is believed to have first appeared in London and Kent and is reported to be up to 70 percent more contagious than other strains. Based on what scientists know so far, the variant does not appear to cause more serious illness than other kinds of coronavirus.

“We want more time to gain knowledge about the virus variant and prevent transmission in Norway. If this variant of the virus is not present in (Norway), there will be huge health-related benefits to shutting it out,” health minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The European Commission has recommended countries lift the blanket transport ban on the UK to allow residents to return home and for essential travel, but individual countries will decide whether to follow the recommendation.

In Norway, which is not an EU member state, the Ministry of Health (Helsedepartementet) will determine whether to extend the current flight ban until January 2nd.

READ ALSO: These are Norway's new rules for recent arrivals from the UK

The ministry is currently working on a registration system for all travellers arriving in the country, which will work alongside current rules relating to negative Covid-19 test requirements and quarantine.

Recent arrivals in Norway are to be contacted by authorities and asked to follow new guidance, Høie previously confirmed.

The following rules will apply to all travellers from the UK to Norway until January 10th:

  • A PCR Covid-19 test must be taken within 1 day after arrival in Norway and again 7 days after arrival from the UK
  • A PCR Covid-19 test must be taken as soon as possible by anyone who travelled from the UK to Norway within the last 14 days
  • Registration with authorities required on arrival
  • Registration required with local municipality at destination in Norway
  • Current exemptions from arrival quarantine do not apply to travellers from the UK, though some exemptions may further apply to this

In addition to the above, Norway's general quarantine rules still apply.


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