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Norway to lift last national Covid measures two weeks earlier than planned

An extra shipment of Covid-19 vaccines means Norway will scrap the last remaining national coronavirus restrictions two weeks earlier than previously anticipated, the government announced on Friday.

Norway to lift last national Covid measures two weeks earlier than planned
A boost to Norway's vaccine program means it is planning on lifting measures earlier than planned. Photo by Steven Lasry on Unsplash

As a result of EU cooperation, Norway will have access to one million extra Moderna Covid vaccines, meaning it is now planning on lifting the final restrictions in the first half of September.

On Friday, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) estimated that everybody would be offered their second jab by September 5th and be fully vaccinated by September 12th as a result of the extra Moderna doses. 

The extra jabs will come from Poland, which no longer needs them. The one million more shots than anticipated is in addition to the 358,000 additional coronavirus vaccines Norway has received from Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania.

The doses were secured through the EU’s joint procurement scheme.

The vaccines will arrive from the beginning of next week and will be rolled out to municipalities from the week beginning August 23rd.

Earlier this week, the Norwegian government said it would ditch the last remaining national measures at the end of September. This was when they expected everyone over 18 to be fully vaccinated.

READ MORE: Norway sets rough date for end of national Covid measures

Due to the significant boost the unwanted doses from Poland will provide to the Norwegian vaccination programme, the government is now expecting that it will be able to lift the last few national measures around two weeks earlier.

“With this delivery, all adults over the age of 18 will be fully vaccinated during the first two weeks of September. This means that Norway can return to a more normal everyday life more quickly,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a statement.

So far, just under 90 percent of those over 18 have received their first vaccine, and just over 50 percent have received their final jab, according to the NIPH’s latest 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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