Norway will close all airports and ports to non-domestic travel at 8 a.m. on Monday due to the coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a press conference at 6 p.m. Saturday. Border controls will also be intensified, although efforts are being made to allow Norwegian citizens abroad to return home.
Svalbard is considered domestic travel for the purposes of the order despite being outside the Schengen area since “it is a part of Norway, ” Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said.
A notice at Avinor’s website states “starting Monday, March 16 all flights from abroad are canceled at 08:00. All domestic traffic will go as normal. We monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, and ask all travellers to consult the information provided by their airline.”
As for border restrictions, Solberg said “it is not completely closed, but there will be fewer crossing points and more frequent control.”
Solberg said steps will be taken to allow residents and goods reasonable movement. Planes carrying Norwegian citizens will still be able to land in Norway, and the government is negotiating with Norwegian Air and SAS about bringing nationals home.
“Norwegians abroad will of course be allowed to come home,” Solberg said, adding airlines would also be asked to transport medical equipment from China.
Solberg said the heightened measures match those now happening in some other countries in Europe.
“This is because those who do not have a critical reason in Norway should not be here,” she said. “We do this with the aim of protecting against the infection. We can reject people at the border.”