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On board Protocol - the Arctic 2022

Updated: 11th April 2022

 

ON BOARD PROTOCOL – THE ARCTIC 2022​
 

At all times PolarQuest and our passengers need to comply with the national regulations in 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.
 
All passengers will receive our “On board protocol – the Arctic 2022” to sign and hand in prior to embarkation. This will be sent with your final documents a few weeks prior to departure.


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 on the day of embarkation, 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 in Norway is moving around freely much like before the pandemic, at airports, on airplanes and transfers as well as in stores and hotels. Facemasks are no longer mandatory on the flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen. Therefore, 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. Please make sure it is valid throughout the expedition.
 

ON BOARD

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 get sick on board, COVID or non-COVID, please stay in your cabin. Food will be delivered to your cabin. If you need to move around the ship, please wear facemask (respiratory mask) and keep distance. There are no mandatory testing or quarantine routines on board.
 
If no symptoms, 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. Please bring your own facemasks.
 
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 use hand sanitizer before eating. Always sneeze or cough into your elbow.
 

GUIDES & CREW

All guides and crew follow the same protocol on board. Since our guide team changes every two to four weeks, our guides will also, prior to departur, observe enhanced hygienic practises, including limited social interactions. 
 

INSURANCE

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.


RETURNING HOME

If you need to present a negative PCR test upon arrival to your home country, testing can at the time of writing this, only be arranged at the airport in Oslo. Please bear in mind that an extra night in Oslo might be necessary. 
 

PROTOCOL IN SHORT

  • You need to be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine
  • Bring your COVID-19 certificate
  • Bring your passport
  • Get tested if you have symptoms on embarkation day
  • Hand in a signed “On board Protocol – the Arctic 2022” before embarkation (sent to you with your final information)
  • Thorough cleaning procedures on board
  • Wash hands with soap thoroughly and often and use hand sanitizer
  • Sneeze or 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

 

CHECKLIST

 

Before travelling, make sure of the following:
1.     Your passport is valid
2.     Your travel insurance covers COVID-19 and all evacuation costs
3.     Your COVID-19 certificate is valid until after disembarkation date and includes all your doses. 
4.     Your vaccine is on the list of WHO-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
https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/coronavirus-disease-(covid-19)-vaccines