PASSING THE TEST, EPIC FAIL AT MAKING THE GRADE: Man w/ negative COVID-19 test hastily sent from Svalbard Airport back to Oslo after skipping mandatory quarantine on mainland;


A Norwegian man who returned to Olso from London on Thursday and then took a flight to Longyearbyen on Friday was forced to immediately return to the mainland for not fulfilling the mandatory 10-day quarantine there, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

The man did get a quick test for the COVID-19 virus that was negative at Gardermoen Airport shortly before departure from Oslo, thus reducing the odds he or those on the flight he was in contact with are the first to bring a case of the virus to a settlement in Svalbard.

“When coming from abroad it is not allowed to travel to Svalbard until you have completed the entry quarantine on the mainland,” Lt. Gov. Sølvi Elvedahl said in a prepared statement. “There is no quarantine hotel in Longyearbyen.”

The man was detained at Svalbard Airport until he was able to board the return flight to Oslo. the order to return was based on advise from the infection control doctor at Longyearbyen Hospital and is authorized in current COVID-19 regulations.

There have been a number of other “close calls” this spring with travellers from the mainland posting an infection risk, including some who were in close contact with infected people. Such visitors have been forced to quarantine in their guest or residential lodging here after local officials were notified by mainland authorities about the contacts.