Travel: Norway to take the US off Covid-19 purple travel list

Norway decided it would remove the US from its purple travel list following an assessment of its coronavirus travel rules on Friday. 

Travel: Norway to take the US off Covid-19 purple travel list
An empty airport lounge. Photo: Artur Tumasjan on Unsplash

From Monday, July 12th, Norway will change its travel rules and take the US off of its purple list, meaning travellers from the US will no longer be able to travel to Norway to visit close family or partners living in Norway. 

Entry to Norway from the US will be restricted to residents and citizens, with a few exceptions, such as travelling for childcare, that you can read more about here.

The US was only introduced to Norway’s purple list this week after Norway finished harmonising its Covid country classification system with EU thresholds

Purple list countries are a select few countries from the EU’s third country list that allow the close family and partners of Norwegian residents and citizens to visit Norway. You can read more about the travel rules for purple countries here

The announcement was made in a statement on the government’s website

Reader question: When will Norway relax its Covid border rules for partners outside the EEA?

It is not currently clear why the government has axed the US from its list as the Covid incidence rate per 100,000 in the US is 56 for the past 14 days, according to DataUSA

This leaves it just above the threshold for a green country that allows entry free quarantine for everyone but well below the threshold for an orange/red country that provides entry for partners and families with quarantine. You can read more about the thresholds here

However, it is worth noting that there is no set threshold for purple countries. Instead, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health assesses countries from the third country list individually.  

Norway also announced several changes to other countries as part of its weekly assessment of the infection situation in regards to travel. 

  • Luxembourg – goes from green to orange.
  • Ireland, Latvia and Monaco – go from red to orange.
  • Andorra, Spain, Great Britain, Cyprus, Portugal – go from orange to red.
  • The Finnish regions Helsinki and Uusimaa SVD, Kymenlaakso SVD and Päijat-Häme SVD – go from green to orange.
  • Crete, Greece – goes from green to orange.
  • Balearic Islands, Spain – goes from orange to red.
  • The United States gets removed from purple list.

You can read the full list of changes as well as the different entry and quarantine rules for green, orange and red countries here.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”