Norway authorities unsure when foreign travel will be able to resume

Norway authorities unsure when foreign travel will be able to resume
File photo: Martin Sylvest / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP
Norway’s travel restrictions are unlikely to be eased before everyone above the age of 45 has been vaccinated against Covid-19, a senior health official has said.

Earlier this month, the director of infection prevention and control at the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Geir Bukholm, said that travel to and from Norway could resume by the end of May.

Residents over the age of 45 years in Norway will have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine by that time, providing for a safe easing of the country’s travel restrictions, Bukholm said at the time.

“It will eventually be possible to open the borders and have normal tourist traffic. And everything related to social meetings. That could happen at the end of May, although I cannot be completely sure about it,” Bukholm said.

In the most recent vaccination scenario published by NIPH on March 12th, the cautious estimate for completion of vaccination of over-45s is the beginning of June. Meanwhile, Norway has seen an increase in coronavirus infections described by health minster Bent Høie on Wednesday as a “third wave” of the virus.

READ ALSO: Norway in ‘third wave’ of coronavirus but no new national restrictions yet

Bukholm told ABC Nyheter on Wednesday that NIPH does not have an estimate for when travel may resume and that it is dependent upon the situation with the epidemic and progression of the vaccination programme as well as the intended travel destination.

“It was certainly not the intention in the interview in question to create hope that travel will be possible at the end of May,” Bukholm said in regard to his earlier comments, which were given to newspaper VG.

The senior NIPH official stressed that his message was that changes to travel restrictions would be justified once vaccination of people over 45 years old had been completed.

“It will not be until that point that the type of travel activity which could be permitted will be reviewed,” he said.

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