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COVID-19

Norwegian government announces tighter Covid-19 rules in Oslo

Tougher Covid rules such as limits on private events and face masks in shops will be introduced in Oslo and its surrounding areas. Nationally, people will also be encouraged to ditch handshakes and to work from home. 

Pictured are crowds in Oslo.
The Norwegian government has announced tighter Covid measures following a rise in Covid infections. Pictured is Oslo. Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash

Following an outbreak of the recently discovered Omicron Covid-19 variant in Oslo, the government on Thursday announced that a number of new measures would be introduced in the Norwegian capital as well as Asker, Bærum and the catchment area of ​​Ahus.

“There are many indications that Omicron is highly contagious. There is little to suggest that the variant causes more serious illness.  The outbreak in Oslo shows you can be infected even if you have been fully vaccinated. There are many indications that the vaccine protects less against infection,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said at a government briefing. 

The following measures will be introduced: 

  • Face masks will be mandatory when it is not possible to keep a social distance of one metre in public spaces such as shops, malls, restaurants, and on public transport. This won’t apply to children under 12. 
  • At private indoor events in public places or rented venues, the capacity will be limited to 100 people. 
  • Guests will need to register in hospitality settings. 
  • At workplaces where working from home is possible and doesn’t compromise a necessary service, home working should be implemented for all or part of the week. 
  • All guests at venues that have serve alcohol will need to be seated, and table service will be used. 

The changes are effective from midnight on December 3rd. 

Several national recommendations aimed at limiting contact were also introduced, such as social distancing where possible and avoiding hugs and handshakes. Employers are also advised to implement a partial home office where this doesn’t compromise a vital service. 

“We ask adults to keep their distance, preferably one metre, (and) to avoid hugging and handshakes. We recommend workplaces facilitate home offices where possible. We must ensure that employees work from home part of the time,” health minister Ingvild Kjerkol said at the press conference. 

The government also announced that all travellers, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or have previously had the virus, will need to take a Covid-19 after arriving in Norway. In most cases this will be done at the border. In instances where testing at the border isn’t possible, arrivals will have 24 hours to get themselves tested. This measure takes effect from midnight on Friday. 

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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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