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COVID-19

New Covid rules in Norway: What happens next? 

Several new restrictions in Norway came into effect on Thursday, and the country’s PM and health authorities have outlined what could happen next. 

Pictured is a tram in Oslo.
This is what could happen next in regards to Norway's Covid rules. Pictured is a tram. Photo by Hyunwon Jang on Unsplash

New Covid measures came into effect on Thursday that reintroduced social distancing, restrictions on face masks and a recommended limit on the number of guests you should have visit, in addition to much more. 

The measures were brought in to reduce social contact among the general public and slow the transmission of coronavirus in society following weeks of rising infections and several outbreaks of the recently discovered Omicron Covid-19 variant. 

The restrictions will be in place for four weeks but will be reassessed in two weeks, and the country’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, has said that the measures could be tightened even further if they do not have the desired effect.

“If the situation turns out to be more serious in relation to infectivity and hospitalisations, then new measures may be relevant. Although I do not have the opportunity to say for certain now,” the PM told newspaper VG

He added that he currently didn’t expect significant changes would be made to the current rules when they are assessed in two weeks.  

“I do not envisage there will be significant changes in what we have decided after two weeks, but it will be an opportunity to make adjustments,” he explained.

Espen Nakstad, assistant health director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, has also warned that stricter measures may also be required. 

“There is still great uncertainty associated with the properties of the Omicron variant. We do not rule out that there may be the need for stricter measures,” he told newspaper Dagbladet

What measures could be introduced if the infection control situation worsens? 

Before the latest measures were announced and introduced, the Norwegian Directorate of Health, which is responsible for providing the government with recommendations on the Covid rules, wrote in a professional assessment of the infection situation that a full or partial lockdown might be required in the event of “very serious infection situation”. 

“If the situation develops rapidly in an even more serious direction, further measures may be necessary. This may mean shutting down society in whole or in part,” the health authority wrote in its report.

The closure of kindergartens, gyms and a ban on cultural and sports events were among potential measures touted, as well as the closing of hospitality where food isn’t served and further restrictions on gatherings. 

How likely are measures to be tightened? 

The likelihood of these measures being introduced is currently not clear. This is since the current measures have only just been introduced. This means that it is still too early to assess whether they have been effective. 

Assistant health director Nakstad explained that it would take at least two weeks before it is possible to see if the measures have worked.

“It takes a week from when they are introduced for them to take effect. Then it can take another work after that before we see a possible change in hospital admissions, making for a total of 14 days, Nakstad told newspaper VG.

Furthermore, the health directorates recommendations are just that. This means that the government doesn’t have to implement them if they do not feel it is necessary. 

Alternatively, the infection situation could go in the opposite direction. Then, the government and health authorities can decide that new measures are no longer necessary and continue with the current rules, or perhaps even relax them if possible. 

Another hint on what could happen next can also be gleamed from the PM’s words above in which he said that he currently didn’t expect any new measures to be overly drastic. 

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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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