ALERT – MANDATORY QUARANTINE FOR ALL WHO’VE BEEN ON MAINLAND: Retroactive to March 13, in effect until March 27; those quaratined on mainland exempt w/ local hospital OK

homequarantine

All people arriving in Longyearbyen after travelling to the mainland must be in home quarantine for 14 days, the city government announced Tuesday night at its website.

The policy is in effect as of 6 a.m. Wednesday and retroactive to March 13 at 6 a.m. It will remain in effect until 6 p.m. March 27.

People who were in 14-day quarantine can seek an exemption via approval from Longyearbyen Hospital. Exemptions are also allowed for what The Governor of Svalbard deems essential public service occupations.

Those with questions about the quarantine can contact the city at 7902 2150 or postmottak@lokalstyre.no.

(Click link below for text of full announcement and details.)

The Longyearbyen Local Council has today decided that everyone who arrives in Longyearbyen after travelling on the mainland will be placed in home quarantine for 14 days after arrival.

“This is a very far-reaching measure for those concerned, both for individuals and the business community. However, the intention to prevent and limit the infection of Covid-19 to Svalbard and protect vulnerable groups must weigh more heavily during this period, in order to be able to return to normal operation more quickly,” said Longyearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen.

The decision to introduce home quarantine was made by the Longyearbyen Local Council Administration Committee today. This has been done on the basis of regulations on health legislation for Svalbard, and in consultation with the infection control doctor at Longyearbyen hospital. See the link to “Urgent decision on extended quarantine provision for mainland travellers” in the Longyearbyen Local Government Administration Committee.

The decision is valid from 18 March 2020 at 06:00 and retroactively back to March 13, 2020 at 06:00. The decision is valid until March 27, 2020 at. 18:00.

“This means that those who come or have come to Longyearbyen during this period will be in home quarantine for 14 days,” Olsen said.

“The reason for the decision is that Longyearbyen is in a particularly vulnerable situation in relation to infection, as we have very limited access to health care. There is now infection in all regions of the mainland, but infection has not yet been detected in Svalbard. Furthermore, it is desirable to get the community back into operation as soon as possible. By putting all travellers from the mainland in quarantine and thus preventing infection, we hope that the community can get back into normal operation faster,” said the local council leader.

The definition of home quarantine appears in the national guidelines for home quarantine in force at any given time. For persons who develop disease or symptoms during the quarantine period, the authorities’ guidelines at all times apply to the conversion of the quarantine into isolation.

“These quarantine provisions apply only to the traveller him-/herself, and not persons with whom the traveller stays, or has stayed together with during his/her stay in Longyearbyen,” Olsen said.

Airport transits in the mainland are not considered to be in the area. Travellers arriving at Svalbard Airport, who have no symptoms, can travel to a planned place of residence. Public transport should be avoided.

Travellers with symptoms should be in isolation immediately and cannot use public transport. Anyone who has no symptoms of respiratory infection can return to the mainland. Travellers who make use of the opportunity to return to the mainland must be in quarantine until departure.

Employees in the health service with patient-related work are already subject to an enhanced covid-19 testing system and are therefore exempted from this decision. Exceptions may also be granted for persons who have all been quarantined on the mainland, cf. on arrival in Norway. This will be done after dialogue and approval of the infection control doctor at Longyearbyen hospital.

Persons who are regarded as socially critical key personnel may be exempted from the quarantine requirement, but national guidelines for quarantine and isolation by illness apply.

It is the governor who decides who comes under the exception. The exception only applies when this is strictly necessary to maintain the proper operation of critical social functions. Apart from this, no exemptions are granted from these provisions.

There are several municipalities in Northern Norway that make decisions on expanded quarantine regulations for travellers south of Nordland