The Governor extends the quarantine order

The Governor extends the order of home quarantine for 14 days to anyone arriving in Svalbard via airport, harbour or by other means. The decision applies to the whole of Svalbard. It is possible to obtain exemptions from the quarantine order.

Published 4/2/2020

By a new regulation, the authority to make local quarantine decisions has now been transferred to the Governor of Svalbard, who considers that the need for protection and prevention is still present.

The decision is valid from 3 April at 18:00 to 10 April 2020 at 18:00.

- 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. The Governor is determined to extend the decision further to Easter, says Governor Kjerstin Askholt.

The decision will be drastic for the person concerned. In light of the serious situation and the need to prevent and avoid any contamination, the Governor still believes that the decision is necessary.

- On the basis of national travel advice and because all travellers must be in home quarantine upon arrival here, tourists and other travellers are not advised to travel to Svalbard for the time being, Kjerstin Askholt points out.

The Longyearbyen Community Council agrees with the Governor's assessment of the extension of the quarantine provisions, but has requested that national guidelines be considered in the decision. The local council points to the importance of bringing the community back to a normal situation as soon as possible, and that there is continuous assessment of easing the measures to be taken whenever possible.

- We share the community council's view that the local community must be brought back to a normal situation as soon as possible. We will consider easing measures when this is considered feasible and in terms of infection prevention justifiable, says Kjerstin Askholt.

For persons who are already in quarantine following the decisions of 20 March 2020 and 25 March 2020, the quarantine period runs for 14 days from the time of arrival in Svalbard. The definition of home quarantine appears in the national guidelines for home quarantine in force at any given time.

- It will still be possible to obtain exemptions from the quarantine provision according to certain guidelines, says Governor Kjerstin Askholt.

Persons in companies with a critical function and other key personnel who are necessary to maintain the necessary operations in the companies can be exempted from the quarantine requirements. The exception provision should only be used where it is considered to be strictly necessary.

It will be up to the management of each company to consider whether an exception should be granted. The company shall make a contamination assessment and avoid that the employee is in contact with other employees and customers where possible. In this case, the company must make special arrangements for the person to be able to keep a distance of other people 2 meters indoors and 1-2 meters outdoors. The exception applies only to the person's work, i.e. travel to and from work and during working hours. In his/her spare time, the person will be subject to home quarantine.

The Governor may in other special cases grant exemptions from the quarantine provisions. Special cases could be personal circumstances such as serious illness in the closest family.

Guidelines from central authorities may result in changes to the exemption provisions.