Tag Archives: quarantine

MAYDAY UNTIL MAY DAY: Governor extends Svalbard quarantine order until May 1, citing its effectiveness; length of travel ban to be discussed next week with national officials

sundial

Photo of polar bear on world’s northernmost sundial overlooking a visitor-free Longyearbyen by Eva Therese Jenssen/UNIS.

The first local reopenings are set to begin with the kindergartens on Monday, but Svalbard as a whole will remain under a quarantine order until at least May 1 in yet another two-week extension to the order that originated March 13, The Governor of Svalbard announced Friday. Meanwhile, a separate meeting is scheduled next week with national officials to discuss a ban on visitor travel to the archipelago, the duration of which remains unknown.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR THURSDAY: Quarantine for locals arriving from mainland extended until April 10, “digital’ community meeting tonight and more

snowmobiletrip

This story will be updated throughout the day. Photo of social-distancing sun-worshiping snowmobilers by Ann Khanittha Chuphu.

A 14-day quarantine for Longyearbyen residents arriving from the mainland, even if they were in quarantine there, will be extended until at least April 10, Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt announced Thursday.

“The decision is, as before, based on assessments from, among others, the infection control doctor at Longyearbyen Hospital and the emergency response council for Svalbard,” she said in a prepared statement.

While Svalbard remains the only region in the High North free of officially diagnosed cases of COVID-19 as of midday Thursday, the quarantine of residents and a complete ban on visitors are among measures exceeding those on the mainland due to concerns about the archipelago’s isolation and lack of adequate facilities to treat patients.

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.)

BREAKING – TRAVELLERS FROM NON-NORDIC COUNTRIES BANNED, PLAN TO SEND THOSE HERE HOME: Justice ministry OKs tougher Svalbard policy; affects first passengers Friday

airportcheck

All people arriving in Norway from non-Nordic countries are prohibited to travel to Svalbard while strict coronavirus restrictions are in effect, Svalbardposten reported Friday. The restriction, following a meeting by The Governor of Svalbard with Norway’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security, was prompted by concerns Svalbard doesn’t have the capability of hosting such tourists for a mandatory 14-day period. Plans are also now being made to send such visitors who’ve arrived since Feb. 27 (when the quarantine retroactively applies to) back home.

A text message sent by Longyearbyen’s emergency preparedness advisor Friday afternoon states the ban applies to everyone – tourists and permanent residents – although there was immense confusion early on about specifics of the policy. Comments posted on social media shortly after the ban was announced stated locals trying to return from trips to Oslo were being denied if they didn’t hold Norwegian passports.