‘The infection rate in Norway is serious. We need to implement stricter measures to delay the spread of the Omicron variant. We are doing this to keep control, obtain more knowledge about the new virus variant, and to prevent the health service from becoming overwhelmed,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.
The Norwegian Government is also seeking to delay establishment of the Omicron variant as the dominant variant in Norway until more elderly and vulnerable inhabitants have been vaccinated.
In line with the recommendation from the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the COVID-19 Regulations are being amended to require all arriving travellers to get tested. If there is a test centre at the border crossing point, the test must be taken there or at a place indicated by the authorities for testing. If there is no test centre at the border crossing point when the traveller crosses the border, the test must be taken within 24 hours of arrival.
In this case, the traveller will be free to choose between taking a rapid antigen test at a public test centre or a rapid antigen test as a self-test. If the rapid antigen test returns a positive result, regardless of whether it was taken at a test centre or as a self-test, the person will have a statutory duty to take a PCR test as soon as possible, and no later than within 24 hours. The requirement also applies to people who are fully vaccinated and people who have recovered from COVID-19. Arriving travellers over the age of 12 must wear a face covering in public areas where it is not possible to avoid close contact until they have received a negative test result.
There may also be risk-based testing of travellers (except for people covered by a special exemption).
The prior special exemption from the requirement to take a test upon arrival in Norway for cross-border commuters, aeronautical personnel, and hauliers, among others, will be kept.
The requirement of a negative test result for COVID-19 before arrival in Svalbard is being reintroduced. Due to the reduction in available health resources in Svalbard, a large outbreak would put great pressure on critical societal functions and might result in evacuation to the mainland, which would require use of the air ambulance service. Priority will therefore be given to administering a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to the population of Svalbard.
The Regulations will enter into effect on 2 December at 12 am. The tightened measures will be reviewed in 2 weeks’ time