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COVID-19

These are the new rules for Norway’s domestic Covid-19 certificate

The Norwegian government on Friday revealed more about how local authorities would use the Covid certificate and who will be eligible to use it.

Crowds of people on Torgata in Oslo.
The Norwegian government has unveiled more details on how the Covid certificate will work. Pictured are crowds of people in Oslo. Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash

Norway’s domestic Covid-19 certificates could be ready for use by local authorities as early as next Friday, the government announced.

“Municipalities can now use corona certificates to provide relief to the fully vaccinated, those who have tested negative or have (recovered from) Covid-19,” health minister Ingvild Kjerkol said.

The return of the health pass was announced last week in a bid to help reduce rising Covid infections and avoid more, potentially stricter, measures being introduced.

“We hope the regulations will make it easier for municipalities with locals outbreaks to make local decisions,” Kjerkol explained.

The government also announced details on how the certificate would work. Those who have been fully vaccinated, recovered from Covid in the previous 12 months and tested negative for the virus in the last 48 hours will be able to use the pass. Previously the the certificate was also available to those who had one jab.  

READ ALSO: Norway announces stricter Covid-19 border rules

The pass has been recommended for large events and use in hospitality and leisure settings such as restaurants and swimming pools.

Once regulation that permits the municipalities to use the Covid certificate is passed at some point on Friday, local authorities will have the power to implement the requirements.

The certifcate will not be adopted nationally, instead local authorities can choose to use the certificate as a means of controlling infections.

Tromsø Municipality, which is in the midst of a spike in Covid cases, has been eager to use the certificate since it was announced last week.

“We are very happy that the government has introduced the coronavirus certificates. It is important for us,” Gunna Wilhelmsen, Tromsø’s mayor, said to newspaper VG.

The health minister also offered an update on Norway’s booster vaccine program and said that she hoped that everyone aged over 65 would be offered a third dose by Christmas. The government advised local authorities to provide 16-17 year olds with the second dose as soon as possible.

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TRAVEL NEWS

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.”

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