The Ullensaker municipality authorities, where Oslo Airport (OSL) is located, announced on Friday, March 13, significant entry and post-entry requirements for all individuals arriving via OSL due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). All foreign nationals traveling to OSL from outside the Nordic countries will be denied entry and required to return home. Those that cannot return home on the same day and who are not showing symptoms of the virus will be accommodated in a hotel and sent home the following day. Foreign nationals who show symptoms will be tested for COVID-19 and placed in isolation for 14 days. Ullensaker authorities also announced that all returning Norwegian nationals are required to undergo a 14-day home quarantine, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms or not. They also said that members of the armed forces will assist authorities at OSL to implement the new measures. The Norwegian Directorate of Health strongly urges individuals to avoid all non-essential travel.
On Thursday, March 12, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced a new series of COVID-19 containment measures. All schools, kindergartens, and universities will be closed from Saturday, March 14 until Thursday, March 26. Cultural and sporting events are banned. Gyms, swimming pools, and businesses offering hairdressing, skincare, massage, body care, and tattooing are also closed. All restaurants, bars, and cafés must ensure that guests are kept at least one meter apart.
Also on Thursday, Norwegian Airlines announced that it will cut an additional 4000 flights due to falling demand and travel restrictions. Flights to Italy remain suspended and around 40 percent of the airline’s long-haul fleet will be ground until the end of May. Earlier on March 9, the company announced it would cut around 3000 flights between mid-March and mid-June.
As of March 13, 996 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Norway.
Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.