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Are Norwegian companies sticking to the Covid rules? 

Norwegian companies have had to follow a strict set of infection control measures throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to help keep everybody safe, but a large proportion of firms haven't been following the rules, a new report has revealed.

Are Norwegian companies sticking to the Covid rules? 
Central Oslo. Photo by tarreha on Unsplash.

Almost one in three Norwegian companies have violated Covid-19 measures, according to the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, which has carried more than 5,000 un-announced inspections across Norway this year.

In around 30 percent of inspections this year, the watchdog found one or more breaches of coronavirus regulations. 

“The entire Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, with its inspectors at the forefront, has done its utmost to help prevent the spread of infection in Norway in general, and in the workplace in particular. This work is still in full swing in the wake of the pandemic,” Director of the Norwegian Protection Authority, Trude Vollheim, said in the report

In 81 cases, inspectors temporarily shut down a company’s operations entirely due to the risk of infection spreading on the premises. Most breaches were related to accommodation provided by an employer. 

“Shutting them (the companies) is the most effective tool we have in the short term, and it has been used when we have identified employees who should be in quarantine,” Vollheim, director of the watchdog, said.  

Most breaches are met with an order to rectify the issue, but some companies have been slapped with fines. The watchdog has dished out 31 fines so far in 2021. 

Fines for the Covid breaches rules being broken can range between 50,000 and 1.1 million kroner depending on the severity of the violation, the risk of infection spreading and the company’s finances. 

READ MORE: What happens if you get caught breaking the Covid-19 rules in Norway

“The vast majority of employers follow the rules, and the vast majority of cases where we find a breach, it is probably also a case that companies want to do the right thing. With changing regulations, it can be challenging to stay up to date with everything, but it is still the business’s responsibility to stay up to date. Unfortunately, there are a few who do not care, and such behaviour is completely unacceptable. They must be found and punished,” Vollheim added. 

The breaches have become less severe throughout the year, according to Wollheim. 

Businesses in construction, car sales, and accommodation were the most likely to be inspected by the watchdog. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

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.

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