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Health check drawing - Photo:Ingrid Asp / ASD
Ingrid Asp / ASD

Mandatory testing at the border

The government is introducing mandatory testing at the border for persons who have been to an area that necessitates quarantine upon arrival in Norway. This will apply from Monday 18 January.

‘Norway has one of Europe’s most rigorous and strictly applied systems for arrival and testing, and we are now tightening restrictions even further to limit the number of imported infections. Persons who refuse to undergo testing without reasonable grounds may be fined and must quarantine in a quarantine hotel,’ says Bent Høie, Minister of Health and Care Services.

At present, persons who have been in an area that necessitates quarantine upon arrival must take a Covid-19 test as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours after their arrival in Norway. This requirement is now being changed to stipulate that the test must be taken at the border crossing into Norway. This means that persons will no longer be permitted to pass testing centres at airports, ports or land border crossings on roads. They will also not be permitted to take a test in their home municipality. Effective from Monday, testing must take place at the point when they cross the border. Tests are free to take.

Closure of border crossings

‘We wish to enhance checks at the border, which is why we are closing a further six border crossings. Now everyone who is required to take a test upon arrival must do so at the border. Persons who refuse to undergo testing without reasonable grounds may be fined and must quarantine in a quarantine hotel. Additionally, persons intercepted in possession of false Covid-19 tests will be refused entry,’ says Monica Mæland, Minister of Justice and Public Security.

There is currently testing capacity available at 28 of the 38 border crossings that are open. In the case of those 10 border crossings that do not currently offer testing, six will be closed: Neiden/Sør-Varanger, Narvik Airport Evenes, Sandvika/Ådalsvollen, Kristiansund Airport Kvernberget, Molde Airport Årø and Linna/Åsnes. Limited testing facilities will be established at the four border crossings where there is currently no testing capacity. This applies to the border crossings at: Tana, Karasjok, Kautokeino and Røros. This means that persons who are required to take a test may only cross the border at times when testing facilities are available. Outside of these times, these border crossings will be closed to these persons. Persons who are exempt from taking tests at the border may cross the border during staffed opening hours even when testing facilities are not available.

‘I want to emphasise the importance of ensuring that the digital entry registration form is completed prior to arrival in Norway. Additionally, foreign employees must have confirmation issued by their employer of suitable accommodation. This must be confirmed prior to arrival,’ says Mæland.

It will take a few more days at the Svinesund border crossing before testing capacity is good enough to allow for everyone entering Norway at this crossing to take a test. Consequently, a temporary exemption has been made for persons with a permanent residence in Norway who may take a test at a location other than the border crossing as soon as possible and within 24 hours if waiting times for tests at the border crossing are in excess of 1 hour. This exemption will be removed as soon as testing capacity at Svinesund is raised to the required levels.