Norway’s Covid-19 travel rules: Switzerland amongst next group of likely ‘red’ countries

Norway’s Covid-19 travel rules: Switzerland amongst next group of likely 'red' countries
The Jet d'Eau fountain in Geneva. Photo: AFP
Increasing coronavirus infections in Switzerland, Poland and the Czech Republic are likely to result in Norway applying travel restrictions to the countries this week.

The move was signalled on Monday by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), which published similar notifications in July before restrictions were applied to travellers from Spain and Belgium.

Norway's health authorities designated EEA and Schengen countries as ‘green' or ‘red’ depending on current infection rates. To remain ‘green’, the figure must be under 20 infections per 100,000 residents in total over the past two weeks.

Once a country is ‘red', the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel that is not strictly necessary to that country, and self-quarantine is required for travellers returning or arriving from it. This also means people cannot travel from 'red' countries to Norway for tourism.

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NIPH said on Monday that it would recommend travel advisories for Switzerland and the Czech Republic to be changed to ‘red’ at the next update scheduled for later this week, unless any change in the situation occurs in the meantime. Poland should also be “assessed”, according to the NIPH statement.

The final decision on travel advice is taken by the government based on NIPH assessments.

Switzerland and the Czech Republic have both exceeded the 20 per 100,000 resident infections threshold, resulting in  the Norwegian public health authority's forthcoming recommendation.

 

Poland is reporting an ongoing increase and infections and is currently at 17.9 per 100,000 residents.

The figures come from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the EU agency monitoring the data.

“New figures show that Switzerland is at 22.9 and Czech Republic 26.8 new Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents for the last 14 days, and the trend is increasing. We are therefore now notifying that, unless the situation changes, NIPH will recommend that Switzerland and Czech Republic become ‘red’ countries and thereby encompassed by quarantine rules,” NIPH head of department Line Vold said in the statement.

Updated quarantine rules and travel advice normally comes into effect at midnight on Friday.

“We also stress the general travel advice: everyone should think carefully about whether they should travel. All travel can increase the risk of coronavirus infection and the situation at your destination can change quickly,” Vold said.

“Everyone who travels should therefore make themselves aware of the local situation. People in risk groups should think particularly carefully about whether to travel,” the director continued.

Arrivals in Norway from Switzerland, the Czech Republic or Poland before the countries ‘turn red’ will not be subject to the quarantine rule but are asked to be particularly alert for symptoms of Covid-19, get a test if necessary and maintain a social distance of at least one metre.


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