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Norway extends UK flight ban until December 29th

Norway’s ban on all incoming flights from the United Kingdom has been extended until December 29th, the country’s health ministry has confirmed.

Norway extends UK flight ban until December 29th
Photo: AFP

The ban may eventually be extended into January, news wire NTB reports.

“It is still necessary to maintain measures so that we gain more time to gather more knowledge about the virus and prevent possible spread to Norway,” health minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The ban on all direct passenger flights from the UK to Norway was introduced for an initial two days on December 22nd due to the discovery of a faster-spreading variant of Covid-19. It has now been extended twice.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has already recommended an extension of the ban until January 2nd, according to NTB.

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.

“As the situation is now, we do not have the capacity to test all travellers from the Univted Kingdom at the border. That could lead to a lack of control over transmission of the new, significantly more infectious variant of the virus,” Høie said.

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

The following rules 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.

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

 

 

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TRAVEL

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

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