SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19

Could Norway bring back national Covid-19 measures? 

New measures to contain Covid-19 in Norway could be implemented amid health authority concerns that the current strategy isn't working.

Pictured is Bergen, which has introduced local measures to bring down Covid-19 cases.
Norway's health authorities have said the current measures are no longer suitable. Pictured is Bergen, which has introduced local measures to bring down Covid-19 cases. Photo by Marcel Ardivan on Unsplash

Following a sharp rise in infections over the last few weeks, Norway may change tact regarding infection measures. 

So far, the only national rules announced have been tighter testing rules for unvaccinated healthcare workers, travellers and close contacts of those who test positive for coronavirus. 

The government has left decisions on what restrictions can be implemented to local authorities going through a spike in infections.  

Several cities such as Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø have brought in measures at a municipal level. 

READ MORE: The current status of the Covid-19 epidemic in Norway

Espen Nakstad, assistant director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, said this week that the current measures aren’t enough to curb rising coronavirus cases. 

“It looks like the measures we have now are not sufficient to reverse the infection trend. This also has something to do with compliance, and that enough people follow the advice,” Nakstad told broadcaster TV2.

According to Nakstad, the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) have passed on recommendations to the government regarding infection control measures. 

“The outbreaks have been local, so it has been important to do what you can locally. (This approach) has been used for a while, and it has had an effect in some places, but not all. Therefore it is necessary to look at what should be advised nationally and locally,” the senior health official explained. 

Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol has confirmed that the government will soon announce a new infection control strategy. 

“We are considering all measures at all levels now. The strategy applied based on the reopening in September will be revised now. We no longer consider it suitable,” Kjerkol told NRK

The health minister hinted that more would become clear next week.

“This strategy will be revised, and then the Prime Minister will report to the Storting [Norwegian parliament, ed.] on Tuesday. Then we will make more assessments,” she said. 

What national measures could be announced? 

It is unclear at the time of writing what changes the government will make to its infection control strategy. Throughout the pandemic, the government has typically adopted recommendations made by the NIPH and the Directorate of Health. 

The recommendations made by the health authorities with regard to the current situation have not been revealed. Moreover, the government doesn’t always adopt what’s recommended.  

The last set of recommendations submitted by the authorities asked for the return of face mask use in some public settings. The government decided against adopting this.

Kjerkol didn’t offer specifics regarding new restrictions aside from saying the government was considering “all measures at all levels”, but she did say the strategy would be aimed at driving down the spread of infection and hospitalisations. 

“We have a situation here and now that we have to deal with. Increased infections lead to increased hospitalisations,” the minister explained. 

Before the remaining national restrictions were lifted at the end of September, Norway’s Covid-19 measures were split into rules and recommendations. 

The recommendations were general advice the public should follow to curb the spread of disease, but which were not enforceable rules, while restrictions were rules which people were required to follow and could be enforced. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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. 

SHOW COMMENTS