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COVID-19

IN NUMBERS: The current status of the Covid-19 epidemic in Norway

Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths have been rising in Norway for weeks as the government and local authorities take measures to restrict the growth of the epidemic.

Pictured is Torgata in Oslo.
Here's what you need to know about the Covid-19 situation in Norway. Pictured is Torgata in Oslo. Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash

What is the situation in Norway? 

Weekly Covid-19 cases in Norway have been rising since early October, and in recent weeks several daily infection records for the whole pandemic have been set. 

Last week, 14,654 people tested positive for the virus. This is the highest recorded weekly total since the pandemic began. The number of documented infections in Norway will also probably surpass the 250,000 mark this week. 

The number of deaths associated with Covid-19 also reached a record level last week, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s latest weekly report. 45 Covid related deaths were registered last week and the number of deaths has increased for five consecutive weeks. Since the pandemic began, 1,049 people have died with Covid-19 as of November 24th.

However, the number of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 has decreased after increasing for four weeks. In the week beginning Monday, November 15th, 146 people were admitted to hospital. The number of patients in intensive care also dropped to 20, from 27 the week before. 

The R-number or reproduction rate was 1.2 as of November 1st. This means that for every ten people infected with Covid, they will, on average, spread the infection to 12 people. 

What measures are in place?

So far, very few national measures have been introduced to curb rising infections. Tighter testing for unvaccinated healthcare workers and close contacts of those with coronavirus who haven’t been vaccinated are the only national measures announced so far. 

Tighter testing and entry registration rules have also been announced for travellers into Norway. 

The government has announced the return of the domestic Covid-19 certificate to be used locally and implemented by municipalities to combat Covid cases, while avoiding stricter measures such as lockdowns and closing hospitality. 

READ MORE: Why is Norway’s domestic Covid-19 certificate not yet in effect?

The domestic certificate is not currently in use yet, but several municipalities and big cities have introduced local measures. 

In Oslo, face masks are recommended on public transport, in stores, in malls and taxis. This is, however, not mandatory or enforceable. In Trondheim, masks are compulsory on public transport, in taxis, in shops and shopping centres and in medical settings. In Bergen, face masks must be worn indoors where social distancing can’t be maintained. Pubs, restaurants and cafes need to keep a recorded detail on guests details. In Tromsø, masks need to be worn in taxis, on public transport, in shops and restaurants when not sat down. 

How does Norway compare to other countries? 

Among the nine countries The Local covers, Norway has the fifth-highest daily new Covid-19 cases per million people based on a seven-day rolling average, according to Our World in Data

As of November 24th, Norway’s infection rate is 420 Covid-19 cases per million people.

A graph showing the daily Covid-19 cases per million across the countries The Local covers.
Above you can see how Covid-19 rates compare across the countries The Local covers. Photo from Our World in Data.

Neighbours Sweden have the lowest current Covid-19 infection rate out of the countries The Local covers with 115 cases per million people. Norway’s other Scandinavian neighbour Denmark has the second-highest Covid rate with 690 cases per million people. Austria has the highest Covid incidence with 1,563 cases per million residents. 

Norway has so far taken a much milder approach compared to other countries in terms of national measures. 

Austria is currently in the midst of a nationwide lockdown, and from next year vaccines in the country will be mandatory. 

In Germany, 2G measures have been introduced in several states, meaning that only vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid can enter public places like restaurants, bars and hotels.

READ MORE: How Europe is responding to the new wave of Covid

Denmark, France, Switzerland and Italy are making use of health passes to combat infections, while Spain and Sweden have more relaxed restrictions than Norway with face masks being used indoors in Spain, and there are no restrictions in Sweden apart from border restrictions and an announced vaccine pass which won’t be implemented until December.

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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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