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IN DETAIL: Norway unveils more details for how Covid-19 certificate will work

The Norwegian government released more details on Monday for how the Norwegian Covid-19 certificate would work, including when it comes to big events and cruises.

IN DETAIL: Norway unveils more details for how Covid-19 certificate will work
Picture: picjumbo.com Pexels

Norway’s Covid-19 certificate will be fully introduced for domestic use once step three of the government’s four-step plan for reopening commences, the government announced at a press conference. 

The certificate will effectively enable the country to hold large events such as festivals within Norway and reopen theme parks, theatres, and football matches to the public. 

Domestic cruises will also be given the green light to resume once step three gets underway.

“Through the pandemic, leisure time has been about small and important things. We can soon go to concerts and festivals,” Health Minister Bent Høie told reporters. 

Currently, the Covid pass is only used to allow fully vaccinated travellers and those who have recovered from coronavirus to skip quarantine hotels.

Large events 

The Covid certificate will be used to allow large events to go ahead when the country enters step three of its reopening plan.

Step three is expected to take place in mid-to-late June, meaning the return to the terraces for football fans and the joys of a live show for theatre aficionados isn’t too far off. 

The government has released an app for the organisers of large events that will scan the QR codes on peoples Covid certificates. 

The QR code used as part of the certificate is based on info from Norway’s digital health portal, helsenorge, which handles all the info on individuals’ testing and vaccination status in the country. 

When scanned the QR will glow green if you have been vaccinated, recently returned a negative coronavirus test, or have had COVID-19 in the previous six months.

Mass events will not be allowed to go ahead in areas with high infection levels or areas under strict local measures. 

Testing

The health minister also revealed extra details when it comes to tests. A negative coronavirus test will only be valid on the certificate for up to 24 hours. 

“A corona test is a snapshot. Therefore a test is valid for only 24 hours,” Health Minister Høie said. 

Høie also said that testing will be free for organisers of events. The government is working on a solution where the state will reimburse private test providers for providing extra test capacity at large events. 

Capacity 

Details on capacity were also announced at the press conference.

Crowds of up to 1,000 people will be allowed at events with a seating or standing plan for guests, and up to 2,000 people can gather at events outdoors if there is no designated plan. 

Up to 5,000 people will be allowed to gather outside where there is a seating plan or designated areas in place, and 2,500 people may be in attendance when an indoor seating arrangement is in place. 

Venues will only be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. For example, a football stadium of 10,000 will only be able to admit 5,000 fans. 

You can read more on the capacity for events here

Cruises 

Domestic cruises will also be given the go-ahead during step three. 

The health minister did not say how many people would be allowed on a cruise ship but did say there would be a high limit in place. 

In addition to this, he also said that just a negative test would be required to embark on a cruise. 

No exceptions for children 

Children will not be exempt from needing a corona certificate to get into large events. 

Parents are able to request access to children’s Covid certificates. 

How to access the Covid certificate 

The health certificate is currently only available from Norway’s digital health portal helsenorge

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to access Norway’s Covid certificate

Helsenorge is Norway’s digital health portal where all info on individuals’ testing and vaccination status in Norway is uploaded.

The certificate can be accessed via the helsenorge app, which is available on Android or iPhone, or via helsenorge.no.

To log in and view the certificate, you will need a level four security clearance electronic ID. BankID, Buypass and Commfides are the IDs you’ll be able to use to log in and view the vaccine pass. 

READ MORE: Everything foreigners in Norway need to know about electronic IDs

Paper Covid certificate 

Health authorities are currently working on a paper version of the certificate that will be ready in a few weeks. 

“We are working on a solution for the 110,000 people who can not use a PC,” Gun Peggy Strømstad Knudsen, director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said. 

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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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