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TRAVEL NEWS

IN DETAIL: Norway announces major Covid-19 travel rules shakeup 

From Monday, more and more people - including some travellers from the USA - will be able to enter Norway as part of a significant change to Covid travel restrictions. Here is everything you need to know. 

IN DETAIL: Norway announces major Covid-19 travel rules shakeup 
Norway will be opening its borders to more travellers. Photo by Anna Gru on Unsplash

On July 5th, Norway will finish harmonising its coronavirus country classification system with the EU’s system and make some significant changes to its travel rules and requirements that will open the country to more travellers from both inside and outside of the EU and EEA. 

The switch will see the majority of EEA countries classified as green, meaning infections are low enough for safe entry, and Norway will also open up to some travellers from outside the EEA wishing to visit family or their significant other for the first time in over six months

New system for classifying countries 

The shakeup will see the Norwegian green, red and dark red classification system replaced with the EU’s thresholds and travel advice. Norway will now classify countries as green, orange, red, dark red and purple. You can take a look at the new thresholds for infections here.

The green, orange, red and dark red classifications only apply to countries in the EU, EEA and also the UK. Some countries from the EU’s third country list will be classed as purple. Entry for travellers from outside the EU, EEA and not from a purple country will still be limited to citizens and residents, bar a few exceptions

READ MORE: Delta Covid-19 variant likely to delay the final step in Norway’s reopening plan

Green countries

Entry to travellers from green countries will be open to everyone, regardless of their reason for travelling or their vaccination status.

Travellers from green countries are also exempt from quarantine and getting tested before travel. However, they will need to test at the border upon arrival and fill out the entry registration form

Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, the Faroe Islands, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Vatican City and Austria will all be green countries from July 5th. 

Greenland and Iceland were already green

The following islands/archipelagos will also turn green:

Greece: Ionian Islands, Crete, North Aegean Islands

France: Corsica

Portugal: Madeira

Italy: Sardinia and Sicily

Orange and red countries

Orange and red countries will be treated the same as one another for now.

Entry will be restricted to residents, citizens and the family and partners of residents and citizens. Testing before travelling to Norway, filling out the registration form, testing at the border and entry quarantine at home or another location with a separate bedroom and bathroom for a minimum of seven days will apply to travellers from these countries. 

Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Monaco, the Netherlands, Andorra, Spain and the United Kingdom will all be red. Portugal will be orange.

The following islands/archipelagos turn red or orange:

Portugal: Azores (orange)

Spain: Balearic Islands (orange), Canary Islands (red)

Greece: South Aegean Islands (orange)

Dark red countries

The same rules for travellers from red and orange countries will also apply to those from dark red countries – with one exception. At least three days of the quarantine period must be spent in a quarantine hotel.

There are currently no countries on the dark red list.

Purple countries

A select few countries from the EU’s third country list, or whitelist, will be classified as purple. This means that travellers from these countries will only be able to visit close family and partners and travel for tourism is out. 

Close family is described as children and stepchildren (regardless of age), grandparents, great grandparents, grandchildren and great children. 

Partners will need to have been together for at least nine months, met in person and fill out a free application with the Directorate of Immigration (UDI). Partners will not need to submit proof of the relationship. You can take a look at the application here

Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, South Korea, Taiwan, USA and Singapore will be classified as purple. 

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SAS

How long could the SAS pilot strike last? 

Some 900 pilots from airline SAS are on strike affecting tens of thousands of passengers in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and beyond. But will the strike be over in days or drag on for weeks? Here's what we know so far.

How long could the SAS pilot strike last? 

Pilots from Scandinavian airline SAS are on strike over a disagreement on wages and working conditions. The airline has said that each day that the strike continues, 30,000 passengers will be affected

The strike, in which 900 pilots are participating, could spell chaos for travellers travelling in and out of the Nordics this summer, the first without pandemic disruption since 2019. 

Many booked with the airline have been left sweating over whether or not their flight will be cancelled, with neither side signalling how long the strike will go on. 

Unfortunately, one aviation expert doesn’t see an end to the strike soon.

The reason for this is that pilots are not only striking over wages and working conditions but also because they are unhappy with how the airline are recruiting pilots.

Instead of re-employing those SAS pilots who were laid off during cutbacks caused by the pandemic, priority is instead being given to hiring new pilots on cheaper deals in two subsidiaries, SAS Link and SAS Connect.

“There are no reassuring signs that it (the strike) will be short-lived. They have been negotiating for several days, with several postponements, and yet they did not agree,” Jacob Pedersen, an aircraft analyst at Danish Sydbank, told Norwegian newspaper VG

The hiring of new pilots to subsidiaries has caused a deep rift between the two parties during negotiations. The airline sees it as an essential part of cost-cutting practices required to ensure its survival. In contrast, pilots’ representatives argue that hiring pilots to subsidiaries on lower terms is a form of reducing the power and influence of the unions. 

However, one of the parties will have to compromise eventually, according to Alexander Sønderland Skjønberg, associate professor at BI Norwegian Business School.

“They disagree on a very fundamental question. How they will solve it, this is difficult to imagine. But one of the parties will give in at some point,” he said to VG. 

The professor predicted the strike could last for around a week. 

“It is so difficult to say because I do not know where they stand in the negotiations, but I guess maybe a week’s time (the strike could end)”, Skjønberg said. 

The reason being is partially due to the perilous financial state of SAS, with some analysts predicting that the strike could bankrupt the company if it drags on for too long. 

“Either the pilots give up, SAS gives up, otherwise the company goes,” Espen Andersen, an aviation analyst at BI Norwegian Business School, said to VG. 

Similarly, Christian Kamhaug said he didn’t envisage the strike lasting much longer than the previous strike in 2019 due to estimates that the strike is costing SAS between 80-100 million Norwegian kroner per day. 

“The previous pilot strike, which was in 2019, lasted for six days. It was a pretty long strike, really. It is said that SAS then lost 700 million kroner,” Kamhaug told Norwegian TV2.

READ ALSO: What can SAS passengers do if their flight is affected by pilots’ strike?

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