What happens if you get caught breaking the Covid-19 rules in Norway?

Covid-19 measures in Norway are broken down into a mix of both local and national restrictions and recommendations, this is how they work and what happens if you break them.

What happens if you get caught breaking the Covid-19 rules in Norway?
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

How do the measures work in Norway?

In Norway Covid-19 measures are applied at both national and local level. All municipalities in the country must adhere to the national rules and recommendations that have been implemented. Additionally, they can also introduce and enforce their own rules that apply for the municipality such as curfews or alcohol bans.

The government can also impose stricter or more lenient measures on areas, these range from from A to C. Oslo and Viken county, as an example, are under the strictest set of measures, Level A.

Covid-19 restrictions applied both nationally and locally are legally enforceable, recommendations on the other hand are not enforced by law.

The infection control restrictions are enforceable under the Communicable Diseases Act. 

What happens when they are broken?

If someone is found to have broken local or national Coronavirus rules, it is up to the local prosecution authorities of that area to decide how to deal with them.

An example of this would be Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s breach of Covid-19 rules being investigated by the South East police district as it was the area under their jurisdiction where she broke the rules.

If prosecuted, the prime minister is likely to face a fine.

The Higher Prosecuting Authorities and the Office of the Attorney General of Norway issue guidance on how police should deal with those who break the rules to ensure that the law is applied consistently throughout Norway.

Read More: Covid-19 in Norway: This is what you can and can’t do over the Easter holidays

Previously police were advised to focus on providing guidance to those who are in breach of the rules. However, as infections have risen the guidance has changed.

“The punitive sanctions must be so tangible that they have a deterrent and attitude creating effect, the directive states, which recommends the most equal practice throughout the country,” the Office of the Attorney General of Norway outlined in its latest guidance.

If you break the law, you are most likely to receive a fine, in some cases though you can face up to 15 days imprisonment.

In most cases the district attorney advises that the fine be set at 20,000 kroner for individuals and 50,000 kroner for business.

What are the punishments?

Here is an overview of the recommended punishments, but punishments will always vary depending in the case. Each municipality will have its own rules in addition to national restrictions so always be sure to check their infection control rules when travelling between municipalities.

In extreme cases prison sentences can be applied if the fines cannot be paid or in the case of repeat offences.

Violation of rules on private gatherings

  • Individuals who arrange the gathering: 20,000 kroner / possible imprisonment for 15 days
  • Companies that arrange the gathering: normally no lower than NOK 50,000
  • Individuals who participate: 10,000 kroner / possible imprisonment for 10 days

Violation of rules on business closures

  • Individuals and company: Recommended to be no lower than 50,000 kroner. 
  • For individuals possible imprisonment for 20 days

Violation of a ban on serving alcohol in restaurants

  • Individuals: 20,000 – 50,000 kroner
  • Enterprises: 20,000 – 50,000 kroner

Violation of rules on quarantine and quarantine hotels, isolation

  • Individuals: 20,000 kroner / possible imprisonment for 15 days

Violation of the duty to wear a face-mask

  • Individuals: 2,000 kroner / possible imprisonment for 2 days

Violation of the obligation to register upon entry to Norway

  • Individuals: 5,000 kroner / possible imprisonment for 4 days

Violation of the obligation to test for Covid-19 upon entry to Norway, or within 24 hours

  • Individuals 10,000 kroner / possible imprisonment for 10 days

Violation of provisions on illegal border crossing between Sweden and Norway (negligent violation)

  • Individuals 5,000 kroner / possible imprisonment for 4 days

Violation of provisions on illegal border crossing between Sweden and Norway (intentional violation)

  • Individuals NOK 10,000 / possible imprisonment for 10 days

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Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

A resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe, this time driven by new, fast-spreading Omicron subvariants, is once again threatening to disrupt people's summer plans.

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

Several Western European nations have recently recorded their highest daily case numbers in months, due in part to Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

The increase in cases has spurred calls for increased vigilance across a continent that has relaxed most if not all coronavirus restrictions.

The first resurgence came in May in Portugal, where BA.5 propelled a wave that hit almost 30,000 cases a day at the beginning of June. That wave has since started to subside, however.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

Italy recorded more than 62,700 cases on Tuesday, nearly doubling the number from the previous week, the health ministry said. 

Germany meanwhile reported more than 122,000 cases on Tuesday. 

France recorded over 95,000 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily number since late April, representing a 45-percent increase in just a week.

Austria this Wednesday recorded more than 10,000 for the first time since April.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Cases have also surged in Britain, where there has been a seven-fold increase in Omicron reinfection, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS blamed the rise on the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but also said Covid fell to the sixth most common cause of death in May, accounting for 3.3 percent of all deaths in England and Wales.

BA.5 ‘taking over’

Mircea Sofonea, an epidemiologist at the University of Montpellier, said Covid’s European summer wave could be explained by two factors.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

One is declining immunity, because “the protection conferred by an infection or a vaccine dose decreases in time,” he told AFP.

The other came down to the new subvariants BA.4 and particularly BA.5, which are spreading more quickly because they appear to be both more contagious and better able to escape immunity.

Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus and immunity unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said BA.5 was “taking over” because it is 10 percent more contagious than BA.2.

“We are faced with a continuous evolution of the virus, which encounters people who already have antibodies — because they have been previously infected or vaccinated — and then must find a selective advantage to be able to sneak in,” he said.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

But are the new subvariants more severe?

“Based on limited data, there is no evidence of BA.4 and BA.5 being associated with increased infection severity compared to the circulating variants BA.1 and BA.2,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said last week.

But rising cases can result in increasing hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC warned.

Could masks be making a comeback over summer? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Alain Fischer, who coordinates France’s pandemic vaccine strategy, warned that the country’s hospitalisations had begun to rise, which would likely lead to more intensive care admissions and eventually more deaths.

However, in Germany, virologist Klaus Stohr told the ZDF channel that “nothing dramatic will happen in the intensive care units in hospitals”.

Return of the mask? 

The ECDC called on European countries to “remain vigilant” by maintaining testing and surveillance systems.

“It is expected that additional booster doses will be needed for those groups most at risk of severe disease, in anticipation of future waves,” it added.

Faced with rising cases, last week Italy’s government chose to extend a requirement to wear medical grade FFP2 masks on public transport until September 30.

“I want to continue to recommend protecting yourself by getting a second booster shot,” said Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who recently tested positive for Covid.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to ‘entire population’

Fischer said France had “clearly insufficient vaccination rates” and that a second booster shot was needed.

Germany’s government is waiting on expert advice on June 30 to decide whether to reimpose mandatory mask-wearing rules indoors.

The chairman of the World Medical Association, German doctor Frank Ulrich Montgomery, has recommended a “toolbox” against the Covid wave that includes mask-wearing, vaccination and limiting the number of contacts.