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Home → May, 2021

Monthly Archives: May 2021 − News & Stories


Nor­way untigh­tens ent­ry requi­re­ments – for Nor­we­gi­ans

The Nor­we­gi­an government has announ­ced to untigh­ten ent­ry restric­tions in a press release on 21 May..

On the day the new regu­la­ti­ons ent­e­red for­ce, on 27 May, the government released ano­t­her note with addi­tio­nal infor­ma­ti­on, inclu­ding an ent­ry ban for tou­rists as one key point. One might get the impres­si­on that the Nor­we­gi­an government took this as an impli­ci­t­ness that did not requi­re expli­ci­te men­tio­ning bey­ond insi­nua­ti­on in the said release.

Non-nor­we­gi­an tou­rists are NOT allo­wed to enter Nor­way

The abo­ve-men­tio­ned release from 27 May says amongst others:

“The­se (add: per­sons) can not enter Nor­way (app­lies to citi­zens of all coun­tries, inclu­ding citi­zens from EU/European eco­no­mic zone and scan­di­na­vi­an coun­tries):

  • Tou­rists

Fol­lo­wed by a list of groups that are cur­r­ent­ly not allo­wed to enter Nor­way (unless an excemp­ti­on app­lies to them on an indi­vi­du­al case basis), inclu­ding distant rela­ti­ves (such as grand­par­ents!), for­eign stu­dents (inclu­ding tho­se from scan­di­na­vi­an coun­tries), per­sons with resi­dence or work per­mit but who do not alrea­dy live in Nor­way, busi­ness-rela­ted tra­velers, owners of holi­day houses etc. (not com­ple­te).

Men­tio­ning tou­rists as the first group in this list, and with the sin­gle word “tou­rists” in con­trast to all other groups, sends a clear mes­sa­ge: tou­rists are cur­r­ent­ly not wel­co­me in Nor­way.

Oslo Gardermoen airport: Norway facilitates entry - for Norwegians

Air­port at Oslo Gar­der­mo­en: inter­na­tio­nal tou­rist traf­fic is a one way road at the time being: Nor­we­gi­ans may visit other coun­tries, but not the other way around.

The­re are excemp­ti­ons for tra­velers who may enter Nor­way des­pi­te of the gene­ral ent­ry ban. This inclu­des, amongst others, non-Nor­we­gi­ans who live in Nor­way, peop­le from regi­ons or coun­tries which suf­fi­ci­ent­ly low inci­dence that the qua­ran­ti­ne obli­ga­ti­on does not app­ly, visi­tors to clo­se rela­ti­ves, peop­le in cer­tain pro­fes­si­ons (for examp­le jour­na­lists, sea­fa­rers, medi­cal per­so­nell from cer­tain coun­tries, …) and peop­le who are regis­tered resi­dents in Spits­ber­gen.

It is the map of the FHI, the Nor­we­gi­an natio­nal health aut­ho­ri­ty, that will play an important role in this con­text for ano­t­her while. Cur­r­ent­ly, almost all Euro­pean coun­tries are lis­ted as “red”.

As you go into detail, the roles are com­plex, plea­se check with the offi­cial web­sites of rele­vant Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties for bin­ding infor­ma­ti­on. But in gene­ral, the mes­sa­ge is pret­ty clear, see abo­ve.

With SV Anti­gua to the ice in Spits­ber­gen … or not

Sunday, 30 May 2021, ear­ly after­noon – about 30 arc­tic tra­vel­lers would now board SV Anti­gua in the port of Lon­gye­ar­by­en and meet the crew and each other.

Not so today, for rea­sons that are not a secret. The trip does not hap­pen for the second time in a row, just as our lon­ger voya­ge in late June/July.

Nobo­dy will ever know what we are now mis­sing. That is the beau­ty of the­se trips: every trip is like the first one (well, almost), and even tho­se who have been around for some time in Spits­ber­gen don’t know what exact­ly will hap­pen. Any trip will bring expe­ri­en­ces that will sur­pri­se ever­y­bo­dy. You can never know whe­re you will end up, what the wea­ther will be like and whe­re you hap­pen to see the various sorts of wild­life.

Antigua, ice edge

With Anti­gua at the ice edge in Smee­ren­burgfjord, ear­ly June 2019.

It is not­hing we could catch up with later. Next year will be a new year, also 2022 will be only 12 mon­ths long and it will bring wha­te­ver it will bring, regard­less of what we may have mis­sed in 2021.

Just for fun, we can do what we always do befo­re any trip and have a look at the ice chart and wea­ther fore­cast. As you can see, the north coast of Spits­ber­gen is locked in behind den­se drift ice. In Storfjord, on the sou­the­ast side of Spits­ber­gen, the­re are, in con­trast, some wide fiel­ds of more open drift ice. It would have been an inte­res­ting idea to set cour­se for south and sou­the­ast Spits­ber­gen rather than to the north, whe­re you cur­r­ent­ly have open water and the sud­den­ly meet with an imp­ene­tra­ble ice edge. Spitsbergen’s sou­thern fjords are beau­ti­ful and the ice in the sou­the­ast is temp­t­ing. It is ama­zing to be on a sai­ling ship and have ice floes in all direc­tions around you.

Spitzbergen Eiskarte

Ice chart of Sval­bard. I’d love to see that on loca­ti­on
(Ice chart © Nor­we­gi­an Meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal Insti­tu­te).

The wea­ther is, of cour­se, ano­t­her important fac­tor. It would not have been a full week of blue ski­es and bright sunshi­ne, but a week of nor­mal arc­tic late spring/early sum­mer wea­ther, with a bit of ever­ything from blue to grey ski­es and anything that comes with it. The fore­cast is anything but reli­able. If you want to know what it’s like in Smee­ren­burgfjord or Horn­sund on Wed­nes­day, then you have to be in Smee­ren­burgfjord or Horn­sund on Wed­nes­day. As simp­le as that.

Spitsbergen weather forecast

Wea­ther fore­cast for Horn­sund. The­se fore­casts are anything but reli­able, but nevertheless an important plan­ning tool (© yr.no).

Sad­ly, we will not find out. About 40 peop­le (inclu­ding crew and gui­des) will miss an expe­ri­ence of a life­time. Plus, the­re is the eco­no­mi­c­al aspect for the ship owner, the Tall­ship Com­pa­ny, the tour ope­ra­tor, die Geo­gra­phi­sche Rei­se­ge­sell­schaft, and tho­se who are working on the ship. I hope they (this inclu­des me) get well through this peri­od and towards bet­ter times.

We’ve still got some hope for the trips later this sum­mer. If you want to tra­vel any­way, and cer­tain­ly if you want to tra­vel on a small ship in a remo­te area: make sure, if you can, to get that vac­ci­ne in time. And then: fin­gers cros­sed.

Nor­way untigh­tens ent­ry requi­re­ments – IMPORTANT UPDATE

!!! In a later release, the Nor­we­gi­an government has poin­ted out that the untigh­te­ned tra­vel restric­tions as descri­bed below app­ly only to Nor­we­gi­an citi­zens. Details will fol­low later today in a new arti­cle on this page.

The Nor­we­gi­an government has untigh­te­ned the strict ent­ry requi­re­ments for tra­vel­lers to Nor­way. This comes into for­ce today (Thurs­day, 27 May), accord­ing to an offi­cial press release.

In very short words, until yes­ter­day the sys­tem for ent­ry into Nor­way has been for mon­ths: “who are you and what do you want”, with the result that ent­ry was pos­si­ble or not depen­ding on natio­na­li­ty and tra­vel pur­po­se. And “not pos­si­ble” was usual­ly the ans­wer for non Nor­we­gi­an tra­vel­lers, unless they had an accep­ted rea­son such as a visit to clo­se rela­ti­ves, busi­ness etc.

From now on, the ques­ti­on is again: “whe­re do you come from”.

Ent­ry not based on “who are you and what do you want”, but “whe­re do you come from”

Tra­vel­lers from the Schen­gen trea­ty area as well as the UK may now enter Nor­way again pro­vi­ded coro­na infec­tion figu­res in their area of ori­gin meet cer­tain requi­re­ments. In the best case, the obli­ga­ti­on to spend some time in a qua­ran­ti­ne hotel may even be omit­ted: in the­se cases, tra­vel­lers are allo­wed to spend qua­ran­ti­ne time at home or ano­t­her sui­ta­ble place of their choice. This app­lies to tra­vel­lers from Euro­pean coun­tries (Schen­gen area and UK) with a coro­na inci­dence of less than 150 new infec­tions per 100,000 inha­bi­tants in the last 2 weeks (! the figu­res usual­ly com­mu­ni­ca­ted in most coun­tries are based on one week), as long as the rate of posi­ti­ve tests is maxi­mum 4 %. So it is important to keep a good eye on data, which may obvious­ly chan­ge on rela­tively short noti­ce.

The­re is no dif­fe­ren­tia­ti­on bet­ween necessa­ry and unne­cessa­ry tra­ves any­mo­re.

Airport Oslo Gardermoen: Norway untightens entry requirements

Air­port Oslo Gar­der­mo­en: may beco­me a bit more lively again in the near future.

Many still have to do some time in a qua­ran­ti­ne hotel

The fol­lowing per­sons will need to spend some time in qua­ran­ti­ne in an appro­ved hotel. It still is a bit com­pli­ca­ted when it comes to the details, but it app­lies to most tra­vel­lers that they will have to spend at least 7 days in a qua­ran­ti­ne hotel befo­re they can get tes­ted out. Ever­y­bo­dy is obli­ged to spend 7 days in qua­ran­ti­ne, but the ques­ti­on if this has to be done in an appro­ved hotel near Oslo Gar­der­mo­en (the air­port) or in ano­t­her place of one’s own choice may make a huge dif­fe­rence for many tra­vel­lers.

  • Tra­vel­lers from coun­tries out­side the Schen­gen area or the UK still have to spend 7 days in a qua­ran­ti­ne hotel.
  • Tra­vel­lers from the Schen­gen area or the UK also have to spend time in a qua­ran­ti­ne hotel if the coro­na inci­dence in their regi­on of ori­gin exceeds the values descri­bed abo­ve moder­ate­ly. The­se per­sons have the chan­ce to con­ti­nue their qua­ran­ti­ne at ano­t­her sui­ta­ble place of their own choice after a mini­mum of 3 days and a nega­ti­ve test. The qua­ran­ti­ne ends after a mini­mum of 7 days and a nega­ti­ve test.
  • What about tra­vel­lers from the Schen­gen area or the UK with a coro­na inci­dence that exceeds the values descri­bed abo­ve drasti­cal­ly? The Nor­we­gi­an government has not yet deci­ded on the details, but the­se tra­vel­lers will have to spend at least 7 days in a qua­ran­ti­ne hotel befo­re they can be tes­ted in order to poten­ti­al­ly lea­ve from qua­ran­ti­ne.
  • Pro­per Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties may give dis­pen­sa­ti­on from the obli­ga­ti­on to qua­ran­ti­ne. Such dis­pen­sa­ti­on will, howe­ver, only be given in spe­cial cases and this needs to be done befo­re ent­e­ring the coun­try.

The door has ope­ned – a litt­le bit

As a bot­tom line, Nor­way has ope­ned the door again a litt­le bit after mon­ths of ent­ry restric­tions which were amongst the toughest in the wes­tern world. We are still far away from free tra­vel­ling as known from times befo­re coro­na, but tra­vel­ling for tou­rists from Euro­pean coun­tries is at least not some­thing com­ple­te­ly unt­hin­ka­ble any­mo­re. It is not yet known when and how the regu­la­ti­ons now in for­ce will be untigh­te­ned fur­ther. Tech­ni­cal aut­ho­ri­ties have sug­gested 3 days in qua­ran­ti­ne also for ful­ly vac­ci­na­ted peop­le, but regar­ding this, no decisi­on has been made as of now.

Ent­ry for vac­ci­na­ted and reco­ve­r­ed peop­le

Decisi­ons are yet to be made, but ever­ything points to more free­dom, pos­si­b­ly up to free ent­ry, for peop­le who are vac­ci­na­ted or who have reco­ve­r­ed from a coro­na infec­tion. Nor­way will join the Euro­pean sys­tem of a digi­tal vac­ci­na­ti­on cer­ti­fi­ca­te, which needs to be in place befo­re we may see such faci­li­ta­ti­ons. Accord­ing to Nor­we­gi­an news (e.g. NRK Dags­re­vy­en, 26.5), pre­pa­ra­ti­ons for such a cer­ti­fi­ca­te are well advan­ced in Nor­way and the sys­tem may be ope­ra­ting at some point in June.

And Spits­ber­gen?

A nega­ti­ve coro­na test is still requi­red to tra­vel to Spits­ber­gen and not­hing has been said about when this will be omit­ted.

Antigua, Spitsbergen

SV Anti­gua in Spits­ber­gen, with a touch of eary win­ter. It is cur­r­ent­ly impos­si­ble to know for sure if Anti­gua and other ships will be able to ope­ra­te in Spits­ber­gen in the late sea­son, but the­re is still some hope.

It is also not know if oppor­tu­nities to ope­ra­te “coas­tal crui­ses” will come up this sea­son. Mon­ths ago, the Nor­we­gi­an government has announ­ced to come back to this until the end of May, so the­re may soon be new infor­ma­ti­on rele­vant to tho­se who have plans for ship-based tra­vels.

New page: Trøn­der­gru­va – the oldest coal mine near Lon­gye­ar­by­en

Let’s take ano­t­her vir­tu­al tour – it was time to play with some new pan­ora­ma images and to crea­te a new page. Join me on a litt­le moun­tain walk on Blomsterd­als­høg­da, a ridge on the north side of Pla­tå­berg, just behind the air­port. This is a com­pa­ra­tively easy walk, but it does not only have some flowers (as the name sug­gests) – I fidd­led a bit with my came­ra to get some good flower shots with the focus stacking tech­ni­que, and you can see a result on the new page.

Blomsterdalshøgda: Trøndergruva

Screen­shot with a part of one of several pan­ora­mas on Blomsterd­als­høg­da. Click here to see the new page with the real pan­ora­mas, some pic­tures and the sto­ry of the oldest coal mine near Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

But the main thing here on Blomsterd­als­høg­da is “Trøn­der­gru­va”, the oldest coal mine in the Lon­gye­ar­by­en area and the star­ting point of a deve­lo­p­ment that gave us Lon­gye­ar­by­en as we know it today 🙂 just click here to join me on a litt­le tour on Blomsterd­als­høg­da and to Trøn­der­gru­va.

Coro­na aid for Lon­gye­ar­by­en com­pa­nies: some are discri­mi­na­ted

“Sval­bard­pak­ke 2” is the second Nor­we­gi­an packa­ge of coro­na backing for com­pa­nies in Lon­gye­ar­by­en that have suf­fe­red eco­no­mi­c­al­ly from the pan­de­mic. The packa­ge inclu­des 40 mil­li­on Nor­we­gi­an crowns (4 mil­li­on Euro) and it was brought on the way by the Nor­we­gi­an par­lia­ment on 23 Febru­a­ry becau­se many local com­pa­nies, espe­cial­ly tour ope­ra­tors, were suf­fe­ring from an acu­te liqui­di­ty crunch. But the allo­ca­ti­on of the funds reve­als a two-class socie­ty with discri­mi­na­ti­on of some com­pa­nies who are “not Nor­we­gi­an enough”.

Lon­gye­ar­by­en Lokals­ty­re, the com­mu­ni­ty admi­nis­tra­ti­on, sta­ted in a press release on 09 March (this author’s trans­la­ti­on): “Mayor Arild Olsen men­ti­ons that the admi­nis­tra­ti­on will empha­sise cri­te­ria that sup­port gene­ral Nor­we­gi­an Sval­bard poli­tics. This will obvious­ly inclu­de good working con­di­ti­on, but also the affi­lia­ti­on of the com­pa­ny. For examp­le that the respon­si­ble com­pa­nies are 100 % in Nor­we­gi­an owners­hip and that the public limi­ted com­pa­nies are at least 34 % owned by Nor­we­gi­an citi­zens and pay taxes in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Alter­na­tively, com­pa­nies are inclu­ded that have been acti­ve in Sval­bard for at least five years.”

This was just a press release and not a legal­ly bin­ding text. Later, the mini­mum peri­od of local acti­vi­ty was incre­a­sed from five years up to ten for tho­se tho­se com­pa­nies that are not in Nor­we­gi­an owners­hip as descri­bed. This is now causing dif­fi­cul­ties for several com­pa­nies.

To pre­vent any misun­derstan­dings: this is in any case exclu­si­ve­ly about Nor­we­gi­an com­pa­nies that are regis­tered in the Nor­we­gi­an Brøn­nøy­sund registre and that are based and acti­ve in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, and not about com­pa­nies from else­whe­re.

Corona aids: discrimination of companies  in Longyearbyen

The Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty empha­si­zes the equal tre­at­ment regard­less of natio­na­li­ty, but some­ti­mes, some are more equal than others (Nor­we­gi­an natio­nal day, 17 May, in Lon­gye­ar­by­en)

But acc­cord­ing to the cur­rent hand­ling of the recent packa­ge of coro­na aids, the natio­na­li­ty of the owners is to play a decisi­ve rule. This inclu­des cases whe­re non-Nor­we­gi­an citi­zens have foun­ded a com­pa­ny in Lon­gye­ar­by­en years ago, who live and work in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, crea­te local jobs and pay local taxes, al accord­ing to local regu­la­ti­ons. It is not about pre­ven­ting abu­se and fraud, but about exclu­ding com­pa­nies owned, part­ly or ful­ly, by non-Nor­we­gi­ans.

It does not sur­pri­se that some who are con­cer­ned feel discri­mi­na­ted. Mar­cel Schütz has been acti­ve with his com­pa­ny Spitz­ber­gen Rei­sen in her pre­sent shape sin­ce 2016 after having star­ted with the pre­ce­des­sor in 2012, as he told Sval­bard­pos­ten. He has inves­ted sub­stan­ti­al­ly in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, amongst others in local accom­mo­da­ti­on of his cli­ents, crea­ted several per­ma­nent plus several sea­so­nal jobs and pays local taxes. Not being inclu­ded becau­se of natio­na­li­ty when tax money is retur­ned to com­pa­nies in need does doubt­less not crea­te good fee­lings, after having con­tri­bu­t­ed to the deve­lo­p­ment of the local eco­no­my for years.

Five or six out of 76 com­pa­nies that are regis­tered in Visit Sval­bard may be exclu­ded becau­se of the owners­hip regu­la­ti­ons. Schütz deman­ds the rele­vant para­graph to be revi­sed and ide­al­ly to be ful­ly remo­ved.

Mayor Olsen said that Sval­bard, in con­trast to main­land Nor­way, is not part of the Euro­pean Eco­no­mic Area and thus more free to make local decisi­ons, and that para­graph 5 is meant to sup­port Nor­we­gi­an Sval­bard poli­tics, which gene­ral­ly aim at a Nor­we­gi­an focus of local acti­vi­ties.

Offi­cial cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on sche­me for gui­des in Spits­ber­gen on the way

The Nor­we­gi­an government has star­ted work on a new set of rules for tou­rism in Spits­ber­gen. With the depart­ment of tra­de and indus­try and the depart­ment of jus­ti­ce, two minis­tries are invol­ved in the work which will touch many aspects. It appears that gui­des will play one cen­tral rule. Gui­des are pre­sent during any tou­ris­tic acti­vi­ty in Spits­ber­gen and they play a cen­tral rule in mul­ti­ple ways: they car­ry respon­si­bi­li­ty for a qua­li­ty expe­ri­ence, often with an edu­ca­tio­nal aspect, for safe­ty – an important aspect in a poten­ti­al­ly dan­ge­rous envi­ron­ment such as the Arc­tic – and for com­pli­an­ce with a ran­ge of legal regu­la­ti­ons and indus­try and com­pa­ny stan­dards con­cer­ning safe­ty and the pro­tec­tion of the envi­ron­ment inclu­ding wild­life and cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ge.

The polar gui­de: a cen­tral posi­ti­on, but not a pro­tec­ted pro­fes­si­on

One can only won­der that such a cen­tral pro­fes­si­on wit­hin an indus­try that is more than one hund­red years old* and that has seen deca­des of inten­se indus­tri­al deve­lo­p­ment both local­ly and inter­na­tio­nal­ly, is not pro­tec­ted. Anyo­ne can offer gui­de ser­vices. Of cour­se the­re is a ran­ge of con­si­de­ra­ti­ons and initia­ti­ves to cer­ti­fy qua­li­fied gui­des, and this has been going on for many years now both local­ly in Lon­gye­ar­by­en (Visit Sval­bard) as well as inter­na­tio­nal­ly (PTGA), and many acti­ve gui­des have used one or ano­t­her sup­plier to achie­ve some kind of cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on. And of cour­se, AECO, the “Asso­cia­ti­on of Expe­di­ti­on Crui­se Ope­ra­tors”, is working on the issue and various tour ope­ra­tors have deve­lo­ped their own qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on sche­mes.

*Regu­lar com­mer­cial Spits­ber­gen crui­ses star­ted in 1891 with Wil­helm Bade.

Guide, tourists and walrusee in Spitsbergen

Tou­rists obser­ving wal­ru­ses in Spits­ber­gen: the gui­de play a key role in enab­ling tou­rists to have a good, safe expe­ri­ence without dis­tur­bing the wild­life or doing any other kind of harm to natu­re.

The pro­blem is: the­re is, so far, no offi­cial­ly ack­now­led­ged cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on. It is unclear who can and will issue ack­now­led­ged cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­ons, which qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons will be requi­red for cer­ti­fi­a­ti­on, how, whe­re and by whom the­se shall be veri­fied and so on.

The Nor­we­gi­an government is working on an offi­cial cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on sche­me for Spits­ber­gen gui­des

This is sup­po­sed to chan­ge. The Nor­we­gi­an government has asked the indus­try and other inte­res­ted par­ties to give their input and to make sug­ges­ti­ons.

Many might bene­fit from a well thought-through cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on sche­me, inclu­ding the gui­des them­sel­ves. Pay­ment and work con­di­ti­ons in parts of the indus­try have repeated­ly been sub­ject to cri­ti­cism in recent years. It is easy for com­pa­nies to replace expe­ri­en­ced employees by new­co­mers when a pro­fes­si­on is not pro­tec­ted. The­re are ple­nty of young peop­le who would be wil­ling to work for next to not­hing or even for free for a sea­son of adven­ture in the Arc­tic. This may even be under­stand­a­ble from the individual’s posi­ti­on, but it is, at the same time, a very unfor­tu­n­a­te struc­tu­re for expe­ri­en­ced pro­fes­sio­nals who want to be just that – pro­fes­sio­nals in the sen­se that they want to make a living of their work.

Ide­al­ly, ever­y­boy could bene­fit: tou­rists, the indus­try, the envi­ron­ment – and the gui­des

Addi­tio­nal­ly, many gui­des have alrea­dy put a lot of effort into aqui­ring cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­ons without knowing if and by whom they will real­ly be accep­ted. Essen­ti­al­ly, any step wit­hin qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on is a good step, but if it invol­ves more bureau­cra­cy than anything else to docu­ment know­ledge and expe­ri­ence that some have used and shown in ever­y­day work in years, without being cer­tain that it is real­ly worth the effort, then it is under­stand­a­ble that a cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on sche­me roo­ted in rele­vant legis­la­ti­on may pro­vi­de plan­ning relia­bi­li­ty that makes it worth to spend some time and effort on.

Spits­ber­gen is get­ting vac­ci­na­ted

Spitsbergen’s coro­na immu­ni­sa­ti­on sche­du­le is making good pro­gress. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has not yet been local­ly recor­ded, which is almost sur­pri­sing as the­re have been ple­nty of infec­tions in main­land Nor­way and tou­rists are regu­lar­ly com­ing from the­re. It seems to be com­mon that they think that the man­da­to­ry use of face masks, for examp­le in shops, does not app­ly to them.

The government in Oslo is well awa­re of Spitsbergen’s remo­te loca­ti­on, which would cau­se mas­si­ve pro­blems in case of a local Covid-19 brea­k­out. The local hos­pi­tal is not pre­pa­red to take care of coro­na pati­ents, and evacua­ting pati­ents to the main­land invol­ves a huge logisti­cal effort. Nor­way has thus deci­ded to give Spits­ber­gen prio­ri­ty wit­hin the natio­nal coro­na immu­ni­sa­ti­on sche­du­le. This app­lies not only to Lon­gye­ar­by­en, but also to the other sett­le­ments, such as Bar­ents­burg, Ny-Åle­sund and the rese­arch sta­ti­on in Horn­sund.

Corona immunisation

“You shall not pass!”
Longyearbyen’s stra­te­gy against the coro­na virus, and the who­le world’s.
Not Spits­ber­gen, but ano­t­her fan­tastic world. Author’s work based on a drawing by Gon­za­lo Ken­ny (the ori­gi­nal sce­ne in “The Lord of the Rings” invol­ves a slight­ly lar­ger, high­ly “inflamm­a­ble” virus 🙂 )

More than 1400 per­sons have alrea­dy been vac­ci­na­ted in Spits­ber­gen, inclu­ding about 90 who have alrea­dy got full pro­tec­tion with two requi­red injec­tions, as Sval­bard­pos­ten reports. Today (Thurs­day, 06 May), ano­t­her 500 per­sons are to get their vac­ci­na­ti­on. This means that a lar­ge pro­por­ti­on of Spitsbergen’s adult popu­la­ti­on will soon be vac­ci­na­ted at least once.

As ever­y­whe­re in the world, this invol­ves hopes for incre­a­sed per­so­nal safe­ty and the chan­ce to return to nor­mal life. As of now, it is not known when this will come for inter­na­tio­nal tra­vel­ling. The government in Oslo has announ­ced to make rele­vant decisi­ons in May. Nor­way does also take part in the Euro­pean pro­ject of a digi­tal vac­ci­na­ti­on cer­ti­fi­ca­te, which is sche­du­led to be avail­ab­le from late June. But it will be every government’s indi­vi­du­al decisi­on what kind of opti­ons owners of such a docu­ment will have, such as ent­ry to a coun­try for non-essen­ti­al pur­po­ses or par­ti­ci­pa­ting in a ship-based voya­ge. But it cer­tain­ly appears as a rea­so­nal pos­si­bi­li­ty that ack­now­led­ged docu­men­ta­ti­on of a coro­na vac­ci­na­ti­on may con­tri­bu­te to such oppor­tu­nities.

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