NORWAY BOOSTS CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS, EXTENDS EFFECTIVE PERIOD TO APRIL 1: New rules may make return tougher for Svalbard residents, but unlikely to affect those here

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Norway is extending its coronavirus quarantine until April 1 and heightening a number of isolation/quarantine measures, including applying them to people in “close contact with someone with a confirmed coronavirus infection. other than health officials providing treatment.

While the measures announced Monday may affect Svalbard residents and would-be visitors, they are unlikely to affect those already here due to a ban on travel for all quarantined people and the removal of those in the archipelago since Feb. 27.

“Under the new regulations people shall enter quarantine if they have had close contact with someone with a confirmed coronavirus infection,” the government announced on its English-language website. “This does not apply to health personnel using proper protective equipment. ‘Close contact’ refers to contact in closer proximity than two metres from other persons for more than 15 minutes, or direct physical contact.”

The quarantine is 14 days from the date when contact occurred, or from the date of arrival for people entering the country from aboard.

“Those in quarantine shall stay in their own home or at another suitable place of accommodation,” the announcement states. “They may go out only if they avoid close contact with others. People in quarantine shall not go to work or school, take long trips in Norway or abroad, use public transport or visit places where a large group of people is gathered.”

The quarantine was initially in effect until March 26. The government stated “an extension is possible” to the new April 1 date.

The announcement also calls attention to enforcement, noting “intentional or grossly negligent violation of provisions in the regulations is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to six months.”