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COVID-19

Norway enters fourth Covid-19 wave, warns health chief

Norway is currently in the middle of a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, Espen Nakstad, assistant director of health at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, said Wednesday.

Norway enters fourth Covid-19 wave, warns health chief
A crowd outside the Norwegian parliament building. Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

On Tuesday, Norway recorded the highest daily number of infections, 1093, since the peak of the third wave in March following weeks of rising infections. 

As a result, the assistant director of health at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, Espen Nakstad, has said that Norway is currently in a fourth wave of coronavirus infections. 

“We are definitely in a fourth wave of infection now, but the vaccination rates mean that we currently do not have a large wave of hospital admissions as of today,” Nakstad told newspaper Dagbladet

Currently, 52 people have been admitted to hospitals in Norway with Covid-19, and 16 patients are receiving intensive care, according to the latest figures from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH). 

Health experts have predicted a rise in Covid cases for weeks, and earlier this week, Nakstad said he expected coronavirus infections to reach 1,300 per day by early September

READ ALSO: Report claims Norway has overpaid for Covid-19 vaccines

Over the past few weeks, health authorities have said rising infection rates in Norway are currently not as serious as they would have been during previous waves of infection due to high vaccine rates in Norway, ensuring the number of hospital admissions remains low as cases rise. 

Just under 90 percent of people aged over 18 have received their first vaccine jab while 60 percent are fully vaccinated. 

Nakstad has echoed this but also urged people to do their best to keep infections under control to ensure that there isn’t a surge of hospital admissions. 

“Nevertheless, it is important to keep control so that not so many people become infected that the admission numbers also increase a lot,” Nakstad said. 

The Norwegian government has said it would lift the last remaining measures once everyone over 18 had received their second coronavirus vaccine jab. The NIPH has previously said it expects this to happen around the 12th of September. 

Municipalities will still be able to introduce their own rules on measures such as facemasks and social distancing once national restrictions end. 

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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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