Norway, Russia border closed for normal traffic until at least August 20
There is nearly no traffic over the land border after both Russian and Norwegian officials in March decided to imply strict entry and exit control following the coronavirus outbreak. Only diplomats, truck-drivers, and a few crew members on fishing vessels are exempted from the travel ban.
On Monday, the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security presented a suggestion for a temporary law to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The law, supposed to be valid until January 1 next year, gives the government a possibility to keep the borders closed to foreign nationals who lack a residence or work permit in Norway.
Minister Monica Mæland says in a statement that the government wants a gradually opening of the borders, but will follow the situation closely.
The current regime with partly closed borders is prolonged to August 20. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also advises all Norwegians to avoid non-essential travel to all other countries.
Easing can be announced earlier, all depending on the Covid-19 situation domestically in Norway and neighboring countries.
A first option could be an opening of borders to Nordic neighbors, like Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. A decision will be announced by June 15. Before July 20, a decision will be taken on possible travellers from other northern European countries.
For the border to Russia, Norway’s only external Schengen land-border, the gates are likely to be closed for a longer period. With the new law, possible as long as to the end of this year.
Russia has become the world’s second most-infected country after the United States.
By Monday, there have been 290,678 cases of coronavirus infections reported in Russia with 2,722 deaths.
Norwegian airports open
Norwegian main airports are not closed. All Norwegian citizens and persons who live or work in Norway will continue to be let into the country. Exemptions will, therefore, be provided for European Economic Area (EEA) citizens and their family members who reside in Norway. Exemptions are also being prepared for EEA citizens who work in Norway.
All travellers coming from abroad must undergo quarantine if they wish to stay in Norway. One provision in the regulations provides that persons who travel in connection with work between their home and workplace, and in so doing cross the borders between Norway, Sweden and Finland, are exempt from the duty of quarantine.