On Tuesday, April 14, the Norwegian government announced the extension of Schengen border controls until at least Tuesday, May 5, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Authorities have stated that the border checks, which were initially introduced on Monday, March 16, will continue to incorporate sea, air, and land restrictions. The government has stated that if the risks of COVID-19 persist, it is likely that the border controls will have to be extended beyond May 5.
On Tuesday, April 7, Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced that Norway would begin easing some of the measures imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This announcement came after the Health Minister's statement on Monday, April 6, that the epidemic in Norway was under control. Due to the improving situation, authorities plan to reopen kindergartens between April 20 to 27, while schools from the first to fourth grade will reopen from April 27. Additionally, Norwegians will be allowed to return to their chalets from April 20. Services which require close contact, such as hairdressing, will resume gradually, while restrictions on sporting and cultural events will remain in place until at least Monday, June 15.
As of Wednesday, April 15, there have been 6740 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Norway, including 145 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus 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 trouble 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 nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 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.