Home Guard leaves the checkpoints as Norway reopens border

Border control by police and Home Guard soldiers at Norwegian-Finnish border crossing. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

The extraordinary military mission to guard the border to Sweden and Finland comes to end after more than 18 months of stringent travel restrictions.

Since the early 1950s people have freely traveled across the borders between the Nordic countries. In most places, you will not even notice when you cross into the neighboring country.

That came to an abrupt end in March 2020.

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, national authorities imposed unprecedented travel restrictions. Cross-border travelers now had to self-isolate and undertake testing upon arrival.

In Norway, Home Guard soldiers were deployed at the border-crossing points.

It would take more than 18 months before cross-border traveling returned to normality.

Home Guard soldier at the Norwegian-Finnish border. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

On the 6th of October, Norway removed the last major traveling restriction to the neighboring countries. The barriers that were set up in March 2020 are now dismantled and the soldiers that have controlled the traffic return home.

The move comes 11 days after the country officially ended its COVID restrictions.

“The one meter distance rule does no longer apply and we can be together the way we used to,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a press conference on 24th September.

Some travel restrictions will however still remain. People without two jabs of vaccine will have to test themselves less than 24 hours after arrival. The same applies for people from regions with exceptionally high levels of infection, the so-called dark red countries, as well as travelers that are vaccinated with vaccines not approved by the EU.

Related stories from around the North: 

Iceland: Iceland to change COVID-19 border rules on October 1, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Norway opens border with Finland, Yle News

Russia: Training sees 40 new Russian tanks rumble along the border to Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Norwegian customers return to border shops in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: Cruise ship arrives in Skagway, Alaska after passenger flown home with COVID-19, CBC News

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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