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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Find out what's going on in Norway on Tuesday with The Local's short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Fredrikstad, South-East Norway. Photo by Christina Holden Rønning

Government to present revised national budget

The Norwegian government will unveil its revised national budget on Tuesday.

The budget will see the government propose an extra 1.5 billion kroner for hospitals and an additional 175 million kroner for IVF funding.

In addition to this, government has also pledged to cut ferry prices and increase municipal funding by 7.3 billion.

Money spent using the country’s sovereign wealth fund, money built up from the revenue generated from oil sales, is set to increase to 401.6 billion. This is up 90 billion kroner from the original budget presented last Autumn.

READ MORE: Norway’s wealth fund gains 38 billion euros in first quarter 

The revised budget will be presented at 11am.

Health authorities hope to offer everyone both doses of a vaccine by the end of August

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) aims to offer everyone the chance to be fully vaccinated by the end of the summer.

“It is possible and conceivable, we hope to be able to offer everyone their second dose during the second half of August,” Director of the NIPH, Camilla Stoltenberg, said.

The plan is reliant on deliveries from Pfizer and Moderna arriving on time. The plan will also be leaning on municipalities to be flexible with their vaccine appointments.

“We have been preparing for the summer for a long time, and the municipalities must be prepared too so that people can get vaccinated over the summer holidays. We will work intensely throughout the summer to continue to have the high numbers of people getting vaccinated as we do now,” Stoltenberg added.

READ MORE: Norway should axe AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, expert committee rules 

The NIPH has previously said it is aiming to offer everyone their first dose by mid-July.

One in four schools had close due to Covid-19 this winter

Some 25 percent of Norway’s primary schools had to close either fully or partially at least once this winter due to coronavirus measures and outbreaks, according to figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Education.

The hardest hit were schools in Oslo and Viken. Some 60 percent of schools in Oslo were forced to close at one point, and 45 percent of schools in Viken had to close their doors to students.

“We know that schools have gone to great efforts to offer students an excellent education and in-person teaching during the pandemic. At the same time, we see that it has been tough for schools to stay open in Oslo and Viken,” Guri Melby, education minister, said.

Finn.no tops customer satisfaction survey

Marketplace website Finn.no has topped Norway’s customer satisfaction survey, the Norwegian Customer Barometer.

84.6 of the site’s users were satisfied with their experience on the site, an increase of 1.4 from 2020.

In second place, missing out by just 0.1 percent, was Flytoget.

Overall, customers satisfaction with Norwegian companies has never been higher.

579 Covid-19 cases registered in Norway

On Monday, 579 cases of coronavirus were registered, an increase of 154 on the 7-day average of 425.

138 cases were recorded in Oslo on Monday, an increase of 33 on the 7-day average of 105.

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 0.7. This means that the pandemic is receding in Norway as for every ten people that are infected, they will, on average, only infect another seven people.

Total number of Covid-19 cases in Norway. Source: NIPH

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COVID-19

What are the current rules for Covid-19 self-isolation in Norway?

Norway's government have updated the country's self-isolation rules a few time in recent weeks. The latest changes mean less people will have to quarantine after being identified as a close contact.

Pictured is a house in Drøbak, south-eastern Norway.
These are the rules for self-isolation in Norway. Pictured is a house in Drøbak, south-eastern Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

From Friday, January 14th, Norway’s self-isolation rules will change, and far fewer people will be required to quarantine as a result. 

“In the next few months, many will be infected, and sickness absence will be high. All companies and businesses need to prepare for it. Plans must be made to maintain the most normal operation possible in a demanding situation. The changes the government is now making in the requirements for infection quarantine will contribute to more people being able to live normally, even though there is a lot of infection in society,” Ingvil Kjerkol, health minister, said of the new rules in a government announcement.

Does the Covid variant affect the self-isolation period? 

The quarantine rules and length of time you need to self-isolate for will not change depending on which variant of Covid-19 you contract. 

Who has to quarantine? 

For obvious reasons, those who test positive for Covid-19 will be required to self-isolate. After that, those who share a household with the infected person, including flatmates who share a common kitchen and bathroom, will also need to quarantine themselves.

However, under the new rules, other close contacts will not need to self-isolate after coming into contact with somebody infected with Covid. Instead, they are asked to take tests on day’s 3 and 5 after being identified as a close contact. Furthermore, they will need to watch for symptoms for ten days and begin isolating if any signs or symptoms appear. 

Anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes and within two metres of somebody who tests positive for Covid is considered a close contact. 

Close contacts are typically friends, colleagues or classmates. However, contact tracing services will also consider those sitting nearby in restaurants and the like as close contacts. This applies regardless of vaccination status. 

READ ALSO: What are Norway’s Covid rules this Christmas?

How long is the isolation period? 

People who return a positive coronavirus test will need to quarantine themselves for six days starting from when they tested positive. The isolation will be a minimum of six days but will not end until the person has been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine. 

Household members and partners will need to isolate themselves before testing after seven days. 

As mentioned earlier, other close contacts are no longer required to quarantine. 

If the test returns positive, then the quarantine rules will apply for those infected with the virus. 

What are the rules in quarantine? 

You will need to stay at home and only perform necessary errands that others can not do. This means you can’t go to work and you need to avoid public transport. 

You can go for a walk, but you need to distance yourself from others. 

You will also need to social distance at home, stay in a separate room and use a different bathroom if possible. You are also encouraged to frequently clean surfaces that are often touched. 

Is anybody exempt? 

There is no exemption from self-isolating as a household member or close contact if you are vaccinated. However, some groups are exempt. 

Everyone who has had Covid-19 in the previous three months can skip the isolation period. The same goes for those who have received a booster vaccine dose at least a week before coming into contact with someone with Covid. Instead, they will need to test themselves each day with a rapid home test or a PCR test carried out by a health professional every other day for seven days. 

Employees who have essential societal functions are not required to isolate, provided they test negative before starting work throughout the isolation period. 

Close contacts under 18 years of age will not need to isolate but are recommended to test for Covid-19.

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