Norway closes borders to almost all non-residents to stop virus spread

Norway announced on Wednesday that it would close its borders to almost all non-residents in a bid to avoid highly transmissible new strains of the coronavirus spreading, news wires reported. From midnight Thursday to Friday, Norway will introduce the strictest rules in this territory since 12 March, PM Erna Solberg told media.

"In practical terms, the border will be closed to all those who do not live in Norway." She added that a handful of exceptions would apply, including for health workers arriving from Sweden and Finland, and people transporting goods. Also exempt are energy and defence workers as well as foreign journalists.

The restriction applies however to foreign athletes as Norway prepares to host international ski trials in the next few weeks.

The Nordic nation, which is not a member of the EU but is part of the passport-free Schengen zone, aims to re-evaluate the measure in two weeks. The kingdom, which has one of the lowest infection rates in Europe, said it aims to keep the health threat under control. "We see that other countries have passed from low infection rates to an uncontrolled spread in the space of a few weeks," Solberg said, citing Ireland.

The new curbs add to entry measures for the country that were already among the strictest in Europe. For example, it requires people to have a negative Covid test before entering the country, register with the local authorities and respect a quarantine.

At the weekend Norway imposed new restrictions in the Oslo area after an outbreak of the new, more contagious variant first detected in the UK. That prompted both Sweden and Finland to effectively close their borders with Norway.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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