COVID-19 and On board Protocol
Latest update: 30th March 2022
ON BOARD PROTOCOL - THE ARCTIC 2022
At all times PolarQuest and our passengers need to comply with the national regulations of Svalbard/Norway. Throughout the Arctic season of 2022, we reserve the right to amend this protocol, to add or remove requirements, based on new developments and/or changed regulations in Norway. Please read below thoroughly.
IMPORTANT – NORWAY TODAY
In Norway, COVID-19/the Omicron variant is now treated as any other flu. All requirements have been lifted since 1st March 2022, and COVID-19 is no longer categorised as a disease presenting a critical threat to society. Norway has no requirements of vaccine certificates to enter Norway. There are no requirements of testing, contact tracing, facemask or distance keeping. However, PolarQuest and the ship owners have decided that it nevertheless is mandatory that all passengers and crew are fully vaccinated, this to minimise risk of serious illness on board our vessels. If you have symptoms prior to leaving home or embarking, it is highly important that you get tested. If the test is positive, you will not be able to travel. PolarQuest then offers 100 % credit on a future trip. Extra expenses for hotel and flight tickets need to be covered by your insurance company. It is important to be aware that the public is moving around freely much like before the pandemic, at airports, on airplanes and transfers as well as in stores and hotels. We kindly ask all our travellers to act with care and respect for your fellow travellers by being extra cautious prior to embarkation.
VACCINE & COVID CERTIFICATES
Everyone travelling with PolarQuest, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. You are obligated to bring a valid certificate issued by the health authorities in the country of your origin. Vaccination certificates will be accepted for a period of nine months since the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination. For a single-dose vaccine, this means 270 days from the first and only shot. For a two-dose vaccine it means 270 days from the second shot. If 270 days have past, a booster dose is required. For now, there is no time limit for the booster. Your vaccine needs to be WHO-approved (see checklist). Our staff will need to see your certificate prior to embarkation.
As mentioned, COVID-19/the Omicron variant is now treated as any other flu and the health and safety procedures on board are similar to those prior to the pandemic. If you have any symptoms of infection, COVID or non-COVID related, please stay in your cabin. Food will be delivered to your cabin. If you need to move around the ship, please wear facemask and keep distance. There are no mandatory testing or quarantine routines on board, but self-tests are available. If a positive test, you need to stay in your cabin.
Wearing a facemask is optional. Passengers can move around freely on board. It is highly important to show respect for your fellow travellers, who originate from different parts of the world, and you all might have been accustomed to different kinds of restrictions. Some may choose to always wear facemask and try to keep distance whenever possible, others may not.
Exposed surfaces will be sanitized daily, and hand sanitizers will be easily accessible in all different areas of the ship. Please remember to also wash your hands carefully with soap on a regular basis. Always sneeze and cough into your elbow.
GUIDES & CREW
Since our guide team changes every two to four weeks, our guides will also, prior to departure from home, observe enhanced hygienic practises, including limited social interactions.
It is required that all travellers purchase a travel/interruption insurance as protection against an emergency, which may force you to leave from a trip while it is in progress. Please make sure this insurance covers all evacuation costs as well as COVID-related matters.
PROTOCOL IN SHORT
You need to be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine
- Bring your COVID-19 certificate
- Bring your passport
- Get tested before leaving home if you have symptoms or have had close contact to someone who has confirmed COVID-19.
- Thorough cleaning procedures on board
- Wash hands with soap and use hand sanitisers often
- Always sneeze and cough into your elbow
- Optional to wear facemask
- No testing or quarantine requirements
- COVID-19 is today handled the same way as a flu
- Respect your fellow travellers
Before travelling, make sure of the following:
- Your passport is valid
- Your travel insurance covers COVID-19 and all evacuation costs
- Your COVID-19 certificate is valid until after disembarkation
- Your vaccine is on WHO's list of approved vaccines. As of 12 January 2022, the following vaccines have obtained EUL:
- The Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine
- The SII/COVISHIELD and AstraZeneca/AZD1222 vaccines
- The Janssen/Ad26.COV 2.S vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson
- The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA 1273)
- The Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
- The Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine
- The Bharat Biotech BBV152 COVAXIN vaccine
- The Covovax (NVX-CoV2373) vaccine
- The Nuvaxovid (NVX-CoV2373) vaccine