Rings 1-2 and levels A-D: What are the new Norwegian Covid-19 local restrictions?

Norway has increased the number of areas under higher levels of coronavirus alert and added different tiers of restriction within those areas.

Rings 1-2 and levels A-D: What are the new Norwegian Covid-19 local restrictions?

The government decided on Tuesday to generally extend strict measures in the east of the country, where several areas already find themselves in so-called ‘ring 1’ and ‘ring 2’ zones due to detection of infectious Covid-19 variants in Nordre Follo and Halden. 

“I understand very well that when there are changes in the infection situation and restrictions, it can take time for people to familiarise themselves (with new rules),” health minister Bent Høie told news wire NTB.

In addition to measures in the east, a number of municipalities around Bergen and Ulvik have also been placed under ‘ring 1’ and ‘ring 2’ measures after outbreaks.

READ ALSO: Parts of western Norway placed on partial lockdown after Covid variant outbreak

When the ring 1 and 2 designations were initially introduced due to the Nordre Follo outbreak, the tightest restrictions were placed on ring 1 municipalities with slightly more lenient restrictions on the outlying ring 2 zones.

But that will not necessarily be the case going forward, the government said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Ring 1 and ring 2 are geographical designations only. The level of measures chosen for ring 1 and ring 2 depend on the seriousness of the infection outbreak,” the government sets out in the statement.

As such, ring 1 municipalities are closely connected to outbreak locations, will ring 2 municipalities are areas outlying the ring 1 areas which require restrictions due to their proximity.

“There are four levels of measures which can be taken into effect. These are: A (very high); B (high); C (quite high); D (slightly high),” it adds.

According to the level of alert, restrictions and recommendations are tightened on schools, universities and childcare; public and private gatherings and sports activities; at workplaces and in shops. Cultural and sports facilities may be required to close. Social distancing recommendations are also adapted.

A detailed guide to the restrictions denoted by each letter can be found (in Norwegian) here.

As such, the lettering system can work in parallel to the ring system. Høie denied that would be a source of confusion.

“Ring 1 and ring 2 are because we need to describe the areas where restrictions apply. The point is that some people may have thought ring 1 should automatically have very high restriction levels, but that’s not the case,” he told NTB.

“Surveys have shown people have understood the measures,” he added.

The municipalities currently under stricter localised measures are:

Level A

Bergen, Kvam, Ulvik

Level B

Alver, Askøy, Bjørnafjorden, Eidfjord, Osterøy, Samnanger, Ullensvang, Vaksdal, Voss, Øygarden

Level C

Halden, Oslo, Sarpsborg

Level D

Asker, Bærum, Fredrikstad, Hvaler, Indre Østfold, Lillestrøm, Lunner, Lørenskog, Moss, Nittedal, Nordre Follo, Rakkestad, Rælingen, Råde, Skiptvet, Våler, Ås.

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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.