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EXPLAINED: Could the US be classified as green under Norway’s Covid border rules? 

EXPLAINED: Could the US be classified as green under Norway’s Covid border rules? 
Could the US become a green country. Photo by Oskar Kadaksoo on Unsplash
Norway has made some big changes to its entry rules and restrictions as part of a shakeup to its Covid country classification system. But could the US be classified as green, meaning quarantine free entry for all arrivals, and what would it take? Here’s what you need to know. 

On July 5th, Norway finished harmonising its Covid classification system with EU thresholds, opening up the country to more and more travellers.

The new system meant that more countries were classified as green, meaning infections are low enough to allow safe entry free quarantine into Norway, than ever before. 

The shakeup also saw a list of “purple” countries introduced. Purple countries are a select few countries from the EU’s third country list. Partners and close family can travel to Norway to visit from purple countries, in addition to residents and citizens of Norway. 

Arrivals from purple countries are still subject to strict entry requirements though such as testing before travel, testing at the border, entry registration and a seven-day minimum quarantine period. You can read about the entry requirements for purple countries here

The US, along with 11 other countries, is currently on Norway’s purple list. You can check out the purple list here

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

But, could Norway classify the US as green and open up for quarantine free travel to all arrivals from the states? 

Could the US be classified as a green country? 

The threshold to be classed as a green country is to have less than 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 over the past 14 days, with than less than four percent of all tests coming back as positive, or an incidence rate of 75 infections over the same period but with only one percent of those tested returning positive samples. 

If you’d like to have a look at Norway’s other travel thresholds, you can do so here

The US’s 14-day incidence rate is currently 56 infections per 100,000, according to DataUSA

Unfortunately for those eager to travel to Norway from the US, it still wouldn’t be classified as green even if it fell below the threshold. 

This is because only countries within the European Economic Area, or EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), and the UK, can be classified as green in Norway. 

This is since Norway gets the infection data it uses to assess travel rules from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) information on countries within the EU and EEA.

However, while this means that Norway will not classify the US as green, it doesn’t mean that Norway can’t one day treat the US the same as a green country. 

Could the US be treated the same as a green country? 

Technically yes, but it may take some time for the US to be treated as a green country. 

For the US to be treated as a green country, Norway would likely be required to relax the entry rules for the whole purple list, rather than adding a new subcategory just for the US.

This is unlikely to happen anytime soon for several reasons. 

Firstly, infections in all purple countries will need to continually trend downwards and probably remain below the threshold for green countries for a decent amount of time before Norway would consider easing the rules for purple countries. 

Secondly, the government has already made a number of significant changes to its travel rules recently, so it may want to wait and see how recent changes to travel restrictions affect infection rates before easing the regulations further.

And thirdly, Norway has postponed the final phase of its four-step exit strategy to lift coronavirus restrictions until late July or early August due to fears that the Delta Covid variant, first identified in India, could spark another wave of infection in Norway. 

Therefore, it is unlikely the government would announce any significant easing of travel restrictions outside its four-step strategy.


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