“I believe I’ll never see her alive again”: Bettina Wintermark worries that her adopted country Norway’s pandemic travel ban means she won’t be able to make one last visit to her dying mother in France.
The Scandinavian country, which was quick to bring the new coronavirus under control, has ignored calls to lift, or at least ease, its travel restrictions, making it probably the most closed nation in Europe today.
Most non-residents are still not allowed to enter the country, and while foreign trips are not forbidden for Norwegians, the 10-day quarantine requirement upon return to Norway — in place until at least August 20 — makes travel abroad prohibitive.
As a result, Norwegians will not be able to soak up the sun on the beaches of the Mediterranean this summer — even Prime Minister Erna Solberg has cancelled her planned holiday in Spain.
For some, the government’s cautious tack has serious consequences.
Such is the case for Wintermark, who can’t travel to the southwestern French city of Bordeaux, about a two-hour flight from Oslo, to see her 84-year-old mother, who suffered an internal hemorrhage and whom doctors have given only weeks to live.
“It’s a nightmare,” says the 59-year-old hairdresser.
“If Norway didn’t have these strict restrictions I would have left immediately,” she says. “But it’s impossible to make short trips to France because I can’t go into a 10-day quarantine each time.”
For the same reason, her son’s wedding — initially planned for July 20, also in Bordeaux — has been postponed indefinitely.