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COVID-19

Norway sets rough date for end of national Covid measures

The last domestic Covid restrictions in Norway could be lifted at the end of September, Health Minister Bent Høie announced on Tuesday.

Norway sets rough date for end of national Covid measures
The health minister has set a rough date for when Covid measures will be lifted. Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

Norway’s last remaining national coronavirus measures, including social distancing, would potentially be dropped at the end of September, Health Minister Bent Høie declared on Tuesday.

The end of September has been earmarked as the date to scrap all remaining domestic Covid measures because this is roughly around the time when it is expected everyone over the age of 18 in Norway will have been offered or received their second vaccine dose.

“As it stands now, everyone should have received two doses at the end of September. Then it will be possible to live normally, without the one-metre rule and other domestic restrictions, but where we must have increased preparedness in our society for new threatening virus variants, and where we must be able to quickly introduce measures, trace the infection and stop the spread,” Bent Høie told newspaper VG.

The health minister added that vaccine levels would help keep hospitalisations low, even if infections increase.

“Vaccination is most important. Although the infection has increased sharply in recent weeks, we have not come up with new national measures precisely because the vaccination and the burden on the health service now mean more than the development of infection,” the health minister said.

Norway had previously delayed the final stage of its four-step strategy to lift all remaining measures over fears of the spread of the Delta variant, first identified in India, and rising infection rates.

However, due to the roles vaccines play in preventing severe illness, the rising infection rates have been less serious than they would have been last year, Høie said.

“Had we seen these infection rates we see now, a year ago, I would have had a press conference a long time ago and introduced strict restrictions,” he said.

Høie did not say what this would mean for Norway’s Covid travel rules and restrictions though.

Member comments

  1. Its been a extremely long and painful wait for the borders to open. We just keep seeing the criteria for opening keeps changing and only a particular set of people being addressed with others getting absolutely no updates. There are others as well, they are also people with family, kids. I fail to understand why are they not thought of. I don’t see any channel through which we can raise of concerns. Its just a indefinite wait.

  2. Norway has to consider third country nationals who has family members and partners there. It is just unbearable that we sit and wait for to meet again with out loved ones. It is discrimination that you accept people from EU countries but not the third countries. Some of us are already vaccinated fully and willing to go to hotel for quarantine however it does not mean anything for Norway. FHI is right about this, it is so intrusive what Norway does. We want to be together with our loved ones again.

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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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