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COVID-19 RULES

Norway to tighten Covid restrictions over Christmas period

Social distancing, recommended limits on guests at home and the return of tighter rules around the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants will be implemented over the festive period in Norway, the government announced Tuesday.

Pictured is Ålesund, west Norway.
The government has announced several Covid-19 restrictions. Pictured is Karl Johan Street, Oslo. Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash

Several Covid-19 restrictions have been announced by the Norwegian government to reduce social contact and slow the transmission of coronavirus, following weeks of surging cases and several outbreaks of the recently discovered Omicron variant in the country. 

The restrictions include recommendations on the number of visitors allowed at home. Social distancing and facemasks being reintroduced were also among the measures announced. 

“We would very much like to be done with the pandemic. Now the situation is still so serious that we must put in place new measures to maintain control,” Prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre said.

The measures will come into effect on Thursday and be in place for four weeks. They will be reassessed after two weeks on December 23rd. 

A maximum of ten guests at home will be recommended over the Christmas period. The recommended limit can be raised to 20 on Christmas Eve or for a party. Children can visit classmates, even if it exceeds the total recommended limit. The public are also being asked to try and limit their social contacts, without isolating themselves. 

Everyone is being advised to maintain a social distance of one metre around those not in their household. However, this will not apply to children in Kindergartens and primary schools and those who work with children, young people and vulnerable people. 

The public have also been encouraged to meet outdoors where possible too.

A maximum of 20 people will be able to meet at private gatherings in a public place, in or on rented premises. In addition, alcohol service will cease at midnight at venues with a liquor licence. 

Furthermore, there must be seating for all guests in restaurants and table service will be used for alcohol. 

At public events up to 3 groups of 200 can meet where there is fixed allocated seating and a social distance of two metres is in place. 

Wakes can have up to 50 attendees. 

Social distancing must also be practiced in hospitality settings. Leisure settings will also be required to make it possible for social distancing to be maintained. 

Bars and restaurants and one-on-one services such as hairdressers will need to register the contact information of customers, provided consent to do so is given. Some leisure settings will also need to register guests contact info. This won’t apply to shops, libararies and shopping centres, however.

Facemasks must also be worn when it is not possible to keep a social distance of one metre in shops, malls, restaurants, public transport, taxis and indoor areas at public transport stations. 

Employers will also need to facilitate working from home where possible and where it doesn’t compromise necessary services. When employees are in the office they too will need to social distance.

Leisure settings such as gyms and swimming pools have been recommended to limit organised activities for adults over 20 to a maximum of 20 participants. It’s also been suggested that changing rooms be kept closed. 

The longer isolation period for suspected Omicron cases would also be rolled out to other close contacts, not just household members. 

The government has also said that municipalities will reintroduce the traffic light system for schools if necessary. However, for the time being all schools would remain at green level, meaning mostly normal teaching. Local areas can decide to change this if they want. 

Universities and colleges have been asked to try and introduce smaller class sizes and more digital teaching. 

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COVID-19 RULES

Norway scraps Covid-19 self-isolation recommendation

The advice to isolate for four days after testing positive for coronavirus in Norway has been axed, the government announced Tuesday.

Norway scraps Covid-19 self-isolation recommendation

Those who test positive for Covid-19 in Norway will no longer be asked to isolate themselves for four days after, Norway’s health minister announced in parliament on Tuesday.

“The specific advice to stay at home for four days after being infected with Covid-19 has been revoked,” Ingvild Kjerkol, Minister of Health, said.

Kjerkol also announced that responsibility for official public health advice relating to the pandemic would be delegated to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Despite the advice being pulled with immediate effect, the health minister added that the pandemic was not over.

“The pandemic is by no means over. There is great uncertainty about the erasure of infection, which virus variants we can encounter and when a new variant can occur. Therefore, there is still a need for good monitoring and preparedness to detect, assess, and handle an unfortunate development early,” Kjerkol said.

She said that the country would learn to live with the virus moving forward.

“Now we will learn to live with coronavirus in society,” she said.

The government said that it would be asking local authorities to retain Covid testing capacity, so they would be able to test at least one percent of the population should a future breakout occur.

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