Norway eases regional restrictions in Oslo area

The Norwegian government is lifting the regional coronavirus measures imposed in the capital Oslo and municipalities in Viken county. But strict local restrictions may apply.

The restrictions are in place until Wednesday, except for Fredrikstad and Hvaler municipalities where they will last through Thursday.

“The municipalities will now themselves consider which measures they want to implement beyond the national recommendations and rules,” said Minister of Health Bent Høie in a statement.

Strict government restrictions were imposed in the municipalities at the end of January when a cluster of the mutated B117 Covid-19 variant, first recorded in the UK, was discovered in the municipality of Nordre Follo, about 30 minutes south of the capital Oslo.

In total, 25 municipalities in the region have been affected by different levels of government restrictions according to the ‘ring’ and ‘letter’ scales.

READ ALSO: The Covid-19 restrictions at each level of Norway’s ‘letter’ scale

READ ALSO: How do recommendations vary across Norway’s Covid-19 ‘letter’ scale?

“The municipalities will during the next couple of days decide on local restrictions,” said Høie. “It is important for the population to monitor the outcomes. The lifting of the regional measures does not automatically entail that restrictions will be eased in the municipality that you live in.”

Regional government restrictions are still in place in the Bergen area in the west of Norway, where different clusters of mutated variants have also been discovered. These measures are scheduled to last to February 22nd.

Norway had on Monday recorded 3,628 cases of mutated Covid-19 variants, according to data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH). Of these, 2,502 cases have been discovered in Oslo and Viken.

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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.