Policy responses for Norway - HSRM

Norway


Policy responses for Norway

1.3 Isolation and quarantine

MEASURES INTRODUCED IN 2020

Persons who have symptoms upon their arrival in Norway must immediately undergo isolation in a place designated by the municipal medical officer. Symptomatic persons may not use public transport to reach the place designated for their isolation. Everybody who has been abroad is subject to home quarantine for 14 days.

April:

From 15 April, people diagnosed with COVID-19, or those waiting for test results, must avoid contact with people, including other people in their household. They may not go out, must remain in separate room(s), and not share meals, towels etc. with others. They must remain in isolation for at least 8 days after onset of symptoms and for 3 days symptoms have disappeared.

Anyone not diagnosed with COVID-19 but who has been exposed to infection, which is established by tracing contacts, must be placed in home quarantine. They must reduce contact with other people as much as possible, not attend any external activities (school, work etc.), nor travel on public transport. They are allowed to take solitary walks outside.

Source:
https://helsenorge.no/coronavirus/quarantine-and-isolation?redirect=false 

From 29 April, if asymptomatic people have received a positive test result, they must be isolated. They may end isolation if they test negative on two RT-PCR tests taken with at least 24 hours interval.

May:

Changes from 7 May:
• The prohibition against foreign travel for health personnel is repealed. However, the government continues to advise against foreign travel and anyone who has travelled outside Norway must be quarantined upon their return.  Quarantine rules after travel abroad are likely to apply until after the summer.
• The quarantine period is being reduced from 14 to 10 days. Anyone who has been in close contact with a person who is confirmed to have contracted the virus up to 48 hours before they showed the first symptoms must be quarantined. The quarantine rules also apply if a person has been closer than two metres from a confirmed COVID-19 case for more than 15 minutes. People who are confirmed to have had COVID-19 are exempted from the quarantine rules for six months.

June:

Changes from 1 June:
Everybody who has not been diagnosed with COVID-19 but who has been exposed to infection, which is established by tracing contacts, no longer required to quarantine. Quarantine rules apply to persons in the same households, others may undergo testing on day 3 and 7 after exposure.

Changes from 15 June:
• The 10 day quarantine requirement has been lifted for persons arriving in Norway after travelling to low incidence regions in other Nordic countries. Maps and tables with an overview of which areas are excluded from this exemption was published and will be reassessed and updated every 14 days (https://www.fhi.no/en/op/novel-coronavirus-facts-advice/facts-and-general-advice/travel-advice-COVID19/)
• People in quarantine can go out for a walk but must keep a good distance (>1 meter) from others. They can also run necessary errands in supermarkets and pharmacies, but should avoid social visits.

July:

Changes from 15 July:
• The 10 day quarantine requirement has been lifted for persons arriving in Norway after travelling to low incidence regions in the EU/EEA/Schengen area. Maps and tables with an overview of which areas are excluded from this exemption were published and will be reassessed and updated every 14 days (https://www.fhi.no/en/op/novel-coronavirus-facts-advice/facts-and-general-advice/travel-advice-COVID19/)
• The overseas regions of the EU/EEA/Schengen area countries are not covered by the travel advice linked to the latter. These regions are subject to the same entry restrictions and quarantine rules as the other third countries.

Changes introduced between 15 July to 13 August:
• Those in quarantine should not share kitchen/bathroom etc. with other people, excluding close contacts/family (21 July)
• People may quarantine not only in their own home but also in the homes of other people (22 July)
• Persons arriving in Norway after visiting high COVID-19 incidence regions should use private transport to travel from the airport to their place of quarantine. If they cannot avoid using public transport, wearing a facemask is recommended (27 July).
• The government introduced a temporary suspension of cruise traffic. The suspension will last for at least 14 days, and only applies to vessels carrying over 100 people. Ordinary (scheduled) ship and ferry traffic is allowed (3 August).
Wearing a facemask is recommended when travelling from regions with high COVID-19 incidence (8 August). Restaurants, bars etc. with a licence to serve alcohol, may only serve alcohol at tables, and all serving has to stop at midnight. No drinks can be consumed at the premises after 00:30.

August:

Changes from 13 August:
• Changes in quarantine regulations: All close contacts must undergo a quarantine, not only household members and equivalent close contacts. This means that people who are not close contacts by who came in contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-infection by (1) staying closer than 2 metres from such person in an indoor space for more than 15 minutes continuously; (2) staying face-to-face, closer than 2 metres from such person in an outdoor space for more than 15 minutes continuously; (3) being in direct physical contact with (e.g. shaken hands) with such person.

Changes from 28 August:
• Everybody with an airway infection should stay at home.
• Everybody waiting for COVID-19 test results should stay at home until negative results have been received and their general condition is good.

September:

Changes from 15 September:
• Quarantine rules are now unified and the same rules apply for persons arriving in Norway after visiting high COVID-19 incidence regions and for those living in Norway; everybody must quarantine after coming in close contact with a patient diagnosed with COVID-19. Employees and contractors from areas in Sweden or Finland where there is quarantine duty and who frequently cross the border with Norway are exempt from the entry quarantine during working hours if they are tested in Norway every 7 days. This also applies for healthcare workers who commute from Sweden and Finland, as long as they are not working in the Swedish or Finnish health service.
• Managers of organisations providing critical societal functions can exempt employees with essential roles in maintaining safe operations from quarantine duty. This exemption can only be used in cases where it is necessary to avoid danger to life and health. The following infection control measures are recommended both when employers give exemption from quarantine to critical workers, and when people are exempt from quarantine at work after travelling to Norway: The person should get tested on the day of arrival in Norway, await negative test results before starting to work, second test should be carried out on day 5 after arrival (minimum 48 hours between the tests); The person should quarantine during leisure time until the second test result comes back negative.
• There is no quarantine duty for people who have had confirmed COVID-19 within the last six months (this should be documented by approved laboratory methods).

The regulations provide detailed descriptions of how the rules apply to different groups of travellers arriving in Norway either for the purpose of work, research, family reunion, etc. Travellers not meeting the required criteria and travellers who are not from the EU/EEA area will not be allowed entry to the country.

October:

Changes from 12 October: The national ban on serving of alcohol in restaurants, bars etc. after midnight will be lifted at midnight. All places serving alcohol must keep a list of visitors (at least one name/address per table) and keep it for a fortnight for contact tracing purposes. Information on the purpose of collecting information must be presented to the visitors.

Changes from 21 October: Families of Norwegian citizens living in third countries (outside EU/EEA area) are allowed to visit their family in Norway (see Transition measures: measures in other sectors).

November:

Changes from 7 November:
• Anyone arriving in Norway from abroad shall be in quarantined for 10 days, with the exception of specified countries in Europe with sufficiently low transmission rates (yellow areas and countries).
• Anyone arriving from "red" countries must present a certificate of negative COVID-19 test when they arrive in Norway. The test must be taken less than 72 hours before entry. If they do not present a certificate, they may be refused entry. The requirement does not apply to Norwegians, people living in Norway, people in transit or people who frequently cross the border into Norway from Sweden and Finland in order to work. Exemption from the duty of quarantine applies to: people who have had confirmed COVID-19 (documented by a certificate presenting the test result and method used, with personal identifiable information and test date) see section on test methods. The certificate shall be in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, English, French or German. Employees and contractors with frequent border crossings who arrive in Norway from areas in Sweden or Finland with quarantine duty are exempt from the  quarantine during working hours if they are tested for SARS-CoV-2 in Norway at least every 7 days. This also applies to healthcare workers who commute from Sweden and Finland, as long as they are not also working in the Swedish or Finnish health service.  There are some exemption for cross-borders workers from the EEA and Switzerland, these exemptions are organised, carried out and funded by the employer or contractor in Norway. The workers must test negative after arrival in Norway before they can start working, and must be accommodated in a single room, be in quarantine in their leisure time for ten days, and they must be tested every three days. 

Changes from 9 November:
• Recommendations for quarantine are once again divided between quarantine for travellers and quarantine for infection control purposes (see transition measures from 15 September).
• The changes concern where people must spend the quarantine period. International travellers must stay at designated hotels during the ten-day quarantine. This requirement does not apply to people who reside in Norway or own a home or holiday home in Norway. This requirement does not apply to people who are in Norway to work and who can document that their employer has provided them with a suitable place to stay during the quarantine period.

December:

A large public debate and protests ensued after rules have been tightened at very short notice in early November and partly against the advice of the NIPH. In response, the following changes have been implemented from 14 December:
• Persons who are able to document access to a permanent residence in Norway will be permitted to quarantine at that location, regardless of whether this residence is owned or rented. People will be able to stay in their own home while undergoing quarantine.
• Other persons whose stay is for purposes other than work or an assignment and who can document that they have access to a suitable location other than a quarantine hotel for their quarantine stay are permitted to quarantine at that location A standard confirmation form is available via regjeringen.no and helsenorge.no, and must be delivered upon entry to the country. This will not apply to those persons who quarantine in their own homes, regardless of whether their home is owned or rented (prior rules from early November only allowed people to quarantine in the residences they owned).
• Exemptions will apply to persons who are married to or have children with a person who has a permanent residence in Norway, as well as to their children under the age of 18. This group of people may undergo quarantine in the home of their spouse in Norway, or the home of their co-parent. In the case of this group, the November rules have had a disproportionate impact.
• Persons in the same household who enter Norway together who are not arriving for the purposes of work or an assignment may undergo quarantine within the same suitable accommodation without any additional requirements in terms of private bedrooms for each member of the household.
• The exemption for employees and contractors will continue to apply. This group will only be exempt from undergoing quarantine in a quarantine hotel if their employer or customer undertakes to ‘guarantee the provision’ of suitable accommodation where it is possible to avoid close contact with others, with a private bedroom including TV and internet access, appropriate bathroom facilities, and a separate kitchen or eating facility, and provides a confirmation that the accommodation meets these requirements.
• An additional exemption has been added for long-distance haulage and for allied military departments as these are subject to separate regulations or international agreements.
• The excess payable by employers and customers using contractors in relation to employee and contractor accommodation in quarantine hotels will be reduced from NOK 1500 to NOK 500 per day. Private individuals who stay in quarantine hotels while undergoing quarantine will be required to pay an excess of NOK 500 per day. Children under the age of 10 years old staying in a room with their parent or guardian will not be required to pay any excess. Children aged 10 to 18 years old will be required to pay an excess of NOK 250 per day.
• People are exempted from quarantine in case of serious illness or the funeral service of a loved one.

Changes from 29 December: International travellers arriving in Norway may reduce time spent in quarantine by up to three days if they have received a negative test results twice after their arrival in Norway. The first test must be taking within 72 hours after the arrival and the second test can be taken no earlier than on the seventh day after arrival. Testing is voluntary for all travellers except for those arriving from the UK. The Directorate of Health does not currently recommend mandatory testing as it is estimated a workload of 4200 man-years would be required to undertake the testing. It is anticipated that the mandatory electronic registration before border crossing will ease the surveillance of people in travel quarantine. People working with transport of goods or passengers are exempt from testing and quarantine for work hours but they remain subject to quarantine regulations after-hours.  

MEASURES INTRODUCED IN 2021:

23 February:

Introduction of a new three level (ABC) risk system (see details in section 1.2). Regarding testing and follow-up of close contacts and household members:

Level A: Persons in quarantine are encouraged to get tested on day 7–10th of the quarantine period.
Close contacts of people infected in an outbreak area of the mutated coronavirus must be tested with a PCR test when going into quarantine (as soon as they have been defined as a close contact) and when leaving quarantine (on day 7 at the earliest). Household members of close contacts should quarantine until the results of the close contact’s first PCR test are available. This applies to outbreaks of the UK variant of the coronavirus.

Level B: Close contacts of people infected in an outbreak of the mutated coronavirus must be tested with a PCR test when going into quarantine (as soon as they have been defined as a close contact) and when leaving quarantine (on day 7 at the earliest). Household members of close contacts should quarantine until the results of the close contact’s first PCR test are available. This applies to outbreaks of the UK variant of the coronavirus.

Since 23 February anyone who is resident or has permanent residence in Norway has been exempt from the hotel quarantine requirement.

18 March:

Beside Norwegian citizens, only those non-Norwegian citizens who are residents of Norway are permitted to enter the country. This also applies to citizens of the EEA.  Mandatory testing, entry registration, quarantine, and quarantine hotels continue to apply to those who can enter Norway (who are exempt from entry restrictions). 

All persons travelling to Norway are required to quarantine for ten days. At the earliest, it is possible to end quarantine on day seven if a person tests negative for Covid-19 twice after arrival in Norway. The main rule is that all persons travelling to Norway have a duty to undergo a quarantine at a quarantine hotel. Persons arriving in Norway to carry out work or contract assignments and who are able to prove that their employer has arranged a pre-approved accommodation for their disposal are not required to stay in a quarantine hotel.

19 March:

Amendments to the place of quarantine: Anyone undertaking unnecessary leisure travel abroad must stay at a quarantine hotel when they return to Norway. People travelling for leisure purposes must stay at a quarantine hotel at least until they receive a negative test result, with the test taken no earlier than three days after their arrival. The municipalities will not be obliged to offer testing and being tested on day 3 will not be a right. In addition, the current strict entry restrictions were extended - initially up until 7 April - which generally means that only foreigners residing in Norway will be allowed to enter the country.

29 March:

People returning to Norway from unnecessary travel abroad must undergo a quarantine at a quarantine hotel. The earlier exemption pertaining the special rules for quarantine upon arrival for military personnel is amended so that the maximum number of any single quarantine cohort is 10 persons.