Norway to quarantine more travellers as COVID-19 rises

People queue on the City Hall quay to take boats to the islands in the Oslo Fjord as restrictions due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak limit the number of passengers on the ferries to 50, in Oslo, Norway May 31, 2020. NTB Scanpix/Stian Lysberg Solum

Norway is reimposing quarantine on more travellers from foreign countries, the government said on Wednesday, and reiterated its advice that Norwegians should avoid travelling abroad amid a jump in the number of new coronavirus cases.

Norway diagnosed 357 people with COVID-19 last week, the highest since April, but still well below the record 1,733 cases found in a single week in late March, data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health showed.

“We’re doing this now so that everyone as soon as possible will be able to live their lives as freely as possible,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference.

“All foreign travel is associated with a risk of infection,” Solberg said.

Norway last week put on hold a plan to further reopen society and urged its citizens to refrain from foreign travel amid the faster spread of the virus.

While not a member of the European Union, Norway belongs to the passport-free Schengen travel zone. It had some of the strictest travel restrictions in Europe in the early phase of the pandemic before gradually lifting them from June.

It will now reimpose 10-day quarantines from Saturday for all travellers from Poland, Malta, Iceland, Cyprus and the Netherlands, as well as the Faroe Islands and some Danish and Swedish regions.

Norway has already reintroduced similar constraints for Spain, France, Switzerland and several others, and has put on hold a plan to permit leisure travel from some non-European countries, which has been banned since March.

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