Norway has decided to lift COVID-19 restrictions within the country and begin a gradual reopening of its borders after 18 months of COVID-19 restrictions.
The news comes as Norway continues its fast vaccination rate, COVID-19 cases continue to drop nationwide. However, the country fell short of a full border reopening, unlike many of its European neighbors.
Norway has also dropped almost all COVID-19 restrictions inside the country as the nation vaccinates more than 70 percent of its total population.
The New Restrictions
Norway has announced a plan to fully reopen the border in several phases. From noon on September 25th, Norway will allow all residents of the EU/EEA/Schengen nations to enter the country.
Additionally, residents of the so-called ‘purple countries’ will be able to enter Norway, along with the U.K. and Swiss residents.
Purple countries are nations outside the European Union, which the Norwegian Institute of Public Health believes has a safe infection level. However, at the moment, only New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Taiwan are on that list. The United States remains off the list.
Norway will still implement a quarantine period for arrivals from the red list unless the traveler shows a valid E.U. digital coronavirus certificate.
Anyone undergoing the quarantine period can test themselves out of quarantine after three days with a PCR test. All other exemptions to the entry ban, such as close family members, will remain in place.
Norway will also scrap the use of mandatory hotel quarantine. Although the quarantine period will remain in place for travelers from certain nations, they can quarantine at a private home or another suitable place. Hotels will remain an option for anyone without a place to quarantine.
Then, the government will introduce its phase 2 reopening. This phase will allow all nations on the E.U.’s third country list to enter Norway without having to quarantine. The government expects this phase to come into place in around 3-4 weeks.
The Norweigan government has planned a phase 3 reopening, but details on the start date remain vague. Phase 3 will likely include a broader reopening to most countries from around the world. Yet, there are no details so far.
Norway’s Easing Of Restrictions Within The Country
Norway will scrap all restrictions within the country this week. That includes all social distancing measures, capacity limits, and restrictions on opening hours at bars and restaurants.
The Prime Minister, Erna Solberg stated, “The short version is, we can now live as normal.”
However, local municipalities can still bring in new measures if COVID-19 cases begin to rise. These restrictions may include face masks on public transport, etc.
The COVID-19 Situation In Norway
Norway has had various waves of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. However, the biggest wave was during this summer, where cases rose to a seven-day average of 1,451.
But, more importantly, cases have started to flatline in the last four weeks. Today, the seven-day average is 700, almost half the seven-day average of 4 weeks ago. Norway has had 185,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Currently, Norway has fully vaccinated 71.2 percent of its entire population. That includes a total of 7.73 million vaccination doses, with 3.6 million citizens fully vaccinated.
Norway’s reopening gives a possible winter travel option to U.S. tourists. Although Norway hasn’t dropped restrictions for U.S. travelers — they will likely drop many restrictions for fully vaccinated U.S. tourists in the coming months.
Stay tuned to find out more in the coming weeks.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com