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World

Norway to require virus test at borders

  • To date, 56,614 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Norway, and 509 associated deaths.
Updated 13 Jan 2021

OSLO: Norway said Wednesday it will begin mandatory coronavirus testing for everyone entering the country, with a fine of 20,000 Norwegian kroner (2,000 euros, $2,300) for those who fail to comply.

With the risk of "imported infections" on the rise, "we are imposing several measures to limit them as much as possible," justice minister Monica Maeland told a news conference.

"Once testing capacity has been strengthened, our aim is to introduce compulsory testing at the borders", she added.

Norway already has some of the strictest rules of entry in Europe: visitors must produce a negative test taken within the last 72 hours, register with local authorities and most undergo a seven-day quarantine.

They are also required to take another test within 24 hours of arrival.

But that has been difficult to enforce and will therefore be replaced by a mandatory test at the border at a yet unspecified date.

Although the rate of infection in the Scandinavian country of 5.4 million people is still low compared to other countries in Europe, there has been an increase in new infections recently, particularly during the holiday season.

Only around 25,000 people -- or just under 0.5 percent of the population -- have so far received their first Covid-19 jab.

On Wednesday, the country's King Harald and Queen Sonja were given their first dose of the vaccine, the royal palace announced.

To date, 56,614 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Norway, and 509 associated deaths.