Norway updates travel rules: Spain classed as ‘red’ but more of Sweden opens up

Norway now requires travellers from Spain to quarantine for ten days, but an increased number of Swedish regions are now open.

Norway updates travel rules: Spain classed as 'red' but more of Sweden opens up
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a placard in Barcelona. Photo: AFP

The Swedish regions of Kalmar, Värmland, Örebro and Östergötland have been given the all clear for travel from Norway and are therefore now included along with existing ‘open’ regions Skåne, Blekinge and Kronoberg.

Norway’s health authorities judge countries – or regions, in the case of fellow Nordic countries – as 'green' if the rate of new coronavirus infections is less than 20 cases per 100,000 people, meaning Norwegian residents can travel there.

European countries which do not meet this criteria are classed as 'red', meaning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel that is not strictly necessary to these countries and self-quarantine is required for travellers returning or arriving from them.

Some of the ‘green’ Swedish regions have shown higher rates than 20 cases per 100,000 people in the last two weeks, NRK reports. But they have nevertheless been designated safe for travel following an “overall assessment”.

“The reason why we have advised this is that we have seen a sharp downward recent trend. These regions come under 20 cases (per 100,000 people, during the current week) if the trend continues,” consultant Are Berg of the Norwegian Institute for Public Health (FHI) said via the authority’s website.

Hungary’s status is also changed from ‘red’ to ‘green’ in the new update.

Authorities in Norway now advise against travel to Spain and Andorra, however. That is due in part to increased infection spread in some parts of northern Spain, particularly in the northern regions Aragón and Catalonia.


Most of Spain's provinces have had new Covid-19 outbreaks since the country ended its state of alarm and lockdown on June 21st (200 active outbreaks nationwide currently).

As a result, Spanish authorities have made face masks mandatory in all indoor and outdoor spaces across Spain, except for in the Canary Islands and Madrid where they aren't always obligatory in public.  

The increase in the number of cases in Spain means that the country exceeds the limit value that FHI has set at 20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks.

Spain is now at 30.9 cases per 100,000, according to July 24th figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The change means that travellers from Spain to Norway must now quarantine for ten days upon return. The quarantine rule is not applied retroactively and will come into effect from the time of implementation on Friday.

Everyone who arrives in Norway from abroad, with the exception of ‘green’ areas in Europe with a sufficiently low spread of infection, must home quarantine for ten days.

The list of countries or regions exempt from the quarantine obligation is reviewed every 14 days.

READ ALSO: Norway loosens border rules to allow split couples to reunite

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US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Authorities in the USA have announced the end of the Covid-testing requirement for arrivals from Europe, meaning that fully vaccinated people will soon be able to travel between Europe and the US without needing pre-travel tests.

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Most of Europe had dropped the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated arrivals in the spring, but the US has maintained the requirement to show proof of a negative test for all arrivals.

However on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the testing requirement.

The new rule is expected to come into effect at 12.01 Sunday EDT, until then passengers will still need to show a negative Covid test before they can board a plane to the US.

The US currently bars unvaccinated travellers from entry – although this does not apply to US citizens, US residents or those travelling for essential reasons – there was no announcement on lifting this restriction. 

The CDC said that testing requirements could be reinstated if new variants of Covid emerge, and added that it continues to recommend pre-travel testing. 

Covid travel rules vary between individual countries in Europe, but most countries now only require pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers. Check the rules of the country you are travelling to for full details. 

To be counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ travellers must have received both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (or a single dose of Janssen).

If their vaccination was more than nine months ago, they need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated – people who have had a booster do not need a second, even if their booster shot was more than nine months ago.