Official update: No direct flights from the UK to Norway before December 29

Bent HøiePhoto: Terje Pedersen / NTB

Norway will continue its ban on direct flights from the United Kingdom until December 29 at noon in order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus variant.

The information was confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Care Services to news bureau NTB. 

The travel ban could also be extended until after the New Year.

“It is still necessary to maintain measures so that we gain time to acquire more knowledge about the virus and prevent its possible spread in Norway,” Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie (H) noted in a press release.

On Monday, the government introduced a 48-hour ban on passengers flying from the UK to Norway

The ban is now being extended to December 29.

Not enough testing capacity

The travel ban came after a new coronavirus variant appeared in London and parts of England recently

The mutation is estimated to be 70% more contagious than the original variant.

“As the situation is now, we do not have the capacity to test all travelers coming from the UK at the border. This could lead to a lack of control over the spread of the new, significantly more contagious variant of the virus,” Høie said.

He emphasized that routines and capacity to ensure testing of all those who normally arrive by plane from the UK are underway, but they have not yet been sufficiently established or secured.

New assessment

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has been commissioned to assess whether the travel ban should be continued. The assessment will be used as a basis for the government’s decision.

When the ban was extended on Christmas Eve, the Directorate had recommended that the travel ban is continued until January 2. 

On Christmas Day, the government reiterated that an extension over the New Year could become a reality.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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