Norway lifts UK flight ban as it introduces compulsory Covid tests on people arriving from abroad

1 January 2021, 13:40

Norway has banned flights from the UK since 21 December
Norway has banned flights from the UK since 21 December. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Norway has said it will lift a ban on flights from the UK put in place last month after the discovery of the new, highly-transmissible coronavirus variant.

The Norwegian health ministry said on Friday that planes en route from Britain could resume landing from 4pm the following day.

It comes in conjunction with authorities introducing mandatory Covid-19 tests, which would either be taken on arrival, or within the 24 hours after.

“If this strain should spread in Norway, it will probably mean a full lockdown of society,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg had previously warned.

READ MORE: Where is the new variant in the UK and where did it come from?

Norway was one of many European countries to close their borders to travellers from the UK after the discovery of the new variant in December.

Officially named VUI-202012/01, it has spread rapidly through the UK and prompted the government to create a brand new tier of rules - the most restrictive yet.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also said the majority of new cases are believed to be that of the new variant, and are being reported as the number of cases continue to shatter daily records.

READ MORE: Where has the new Covid variant come from? And is it only in the UK?

On Thursday, 55,892 new infections were reported - the highest ever rise in 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Norway has the fourth lowest cumulative number of cases per 100,000 people in Europe. The figures, from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, show Norway is down to 113.6.

This is behind Iceland, Greece and Finland.