Norway is tightening its entry restrictions for all visitors as the country copes with a major clustered outbreak -possibly- linked to the novel Omicron variant.
Beginning Dec. 3, anyone entering the territory will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours before arrival, according to a news statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Care Services on Thursday.
Visitors can opt for a rapid test at the border or at a public test station. Those who test positive must take a PCR test within 24 hours.
“If the rapid antigen test returns a positive result, regardless of whether it was taken at a test center 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,” warned the Minister.
This requirement applies to everyone, including those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19.
In addition, all arrivals aged 12 and up must wear a face mask at all times and minimize contact with other individuals until they receive a negative test result.
Norway also announced local restrictions for Oslo and the surrounding area after a Company’s Christmas dinner resulted in more than 60 fully-vaccinated employees getting infected.
At least one of them has been tested positive for the Omicron variant.
“This shows that the virus spreads very easily and that the vaccine does not protect well against infections. We hope and believe that the vaccine protects against serious forms of the disease but we don’t know up to what point,” the minister added.
On Dec. 2, Norway urged citizens to wear face masks on public transportation, shops and shopping malls. Social distancing was also suggested.
Also, in a bid to stop the further spread of the Omicron variant, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended citizens avoid traveling to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini and Malawi.
Those with a travel history to one of the above-mentioned countries during the last ten days will be subject to pre-departure and post-arrival testing and mandatory quarantine.