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COVID-19

UPDATE: No coronavirus on German cruise ship docked in Norway

Two passengers from a German cruise ship who were tested for coronavirus in Norway are not infected with the virus, test results have shown.

UPDATE: No coronavirus on German cruise ship docked in Norway
The cruise ship 'Aida Aura' moored in Haugesund harbour, south-western Norway, on March 2nd. Photo: AFP

The two people, who had been ashore in southwestern Norwegian city Haugesund, were tested on Monday because they had been in close contact in Germany with someone who was later found to have the virus.

The cruise ship, the Aida Aura, was set to depart from the city on Monday but was detained after the two passengers awaited test results.

After test results showed that the passengers are not infected with coronavirus, the cruise ship will depart from Haugesund as soon as possible, Norway’s national broadcaster NRK reports.

“There is no need to keep the passengers in the quarantine. They can leave the boat freely without danger,” Teis Qvale, a doctor specializing in infectious disease protection in Haugesund, told NRK.

Ole Bernt Thorbjørnsen director of the Haugesund Municipality called the result “the best outcome we could have hoped for” in comments to the broadcaster.

Around 1,200 people reported to be on board are now free to leave the ship.

“We were informed by the ship’s agent that there are two people who may have the coronavirus sickness and that they wanted them to be tested,” Qvale said earlier. 

The tests were sent to the Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen for analysis.

The two passengers in question are both German and were reported by NRK to have been in contact one week ago with another German person who has since tested positive for coronavirus infection.

Qvale told NRK that, although the two German passengers had been on land at Haugesund, he believed they presented a “very small” risk of infection to the local population.

The two people who were tested for the coronavirus did not show any signs of illness when Qvale visited the ship on Monday afternoon.

“They did not have symptoms of cough or other respiratory ailments, so I think they represent little risk to the locals,” the doctor said.

“It is a relatively close-knit setting to be aboard a cruise ship, but I have confidence that the health department on the ship has taken care of the infection protection on board in the best possible way. Those who have been on a cruise ship know that there are very strict hygiene rules,” he added when asked about the risk to other passengers.

The number of recorded coronavirus infections in Germany has now risen to around 188, with the most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, recording by far the highest number of cases, with 101. No fatalities have occurred in Germany from the virus at the time of writing.

A total of 32 people have currently tested positive for coronavirus in Norway, according to the country’s public health authority Folkehelseinstituttet (FHI) figures

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TRAVEL NEWS

Tourists: What to do if you catch Covid-19 in Norway 

All Covid travel rules for Norway have been completely lifted for a while now- but what happens if you test positive or start to develop Covid symptoms while you are here?

Tourists: What to do if you catch Covid-19 in Norway 

Covid travel rules in Norway have been lifted for a while, and all but a few recommendations remain domestically. This is a far cry from a similar time last year when Norway had very strict travel rules in place. 

Testing

Close contacts of Covid infected are not required to get a test, meaning if you have been in contact with somebody with Covid-19, you will not be required to get tested under the official rules. 

However, if you wish to take a test, you can buy self-tests at supermarkets and pharmacies. You can also order Covid-19 tests from Norwegian municipalities if you want a PCR test. You can find the contact information for every municipality in Norway here. Facemasks are also widely available in shops and pharmacies. 

Several private providers, such as Volvat and Dr Dropin, offer antigen and PCR tests with results within 24 hours. However, municipality tests can take longer to deliver results. If you need a test to travel home, you will not be able to get one from a local authority. These tests are only for those with symptoms of Covid-19.  

Home tests will not cost more than 60 kroner from supermarkets, while a municipality test will be free. However, private providers’ tests are pricier, costing between 1,000 and 1,500 kroner at most private clinics.

Isolation

There are also no specific rules in regards to isolation. 

“If you have respiratory symptoms, you should stay at home until you feel well. If you feel well, you can live as normal,” Helsenorge advises on its websiteMeaning that if you are asymptomatic, you aren’t advised to isolate. 

Other symptoms which you may need to isolate with include headache and blocked nose and influenza-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat and feeling unwell. 

The isolation information means you will need to liaise with the hotel or accommodation you are staying at. 

Travellers are advised to check what their insurance covers before taking out a policy to avoid being left out of pocket if they have to pay for new flights or an extended stay because they are isolating. 

If you test positive, you are also advised to steer clear of those in risk groups. 

Self-isolation advice applies regardless of vaccination status or previous infection. 

What else should I know? 

If your symptoms get worse, the best course of practice would be to contact a standard GP.

You can also contact the out-of-hours urgent care number on 116 117. This will put you through to the nearest urgent care centre to you. Visitors can also call for an ambulance on 113, but this is only advisable in life-threatening situations, such as a stroke or cardiac arrest.

In addition to checking your insurance policy, you also will need to check the rules of the country you are returning to or travelling through in case you may need a test to enter. 

If you have an EHIC card and receive medical care after testing positive for Covid-19, you will only be required to pay the same subsidised fees Norwegians do for healthcare. Despite this, European citizens are also advised to take out travel insurance. 

Non-European visitors are entitled to urgent medical care but will need to pay the full cost with no prospect of reimbursement if they don’t have health insurance. 

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