The new self-isolation rules for Covid-19 in Norway

Only those who test positive for Covid-19 have to self-isolate after the Norwegian government relaxed the country's pandemic restrictions.

"Trikken", the Norwegian tramway, is off limits to people in quarantine. But since the government eased the country's pandemic restrictions, only those who test positive for Covid-19 have to self-isolate. Photo: Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

The Labour Party-led coalition government has decided that the health situation allows for easing restrictions, even though that likely will mean higher levels of coronavirus spread in the population.

“Many of us will be infected,” said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre during a press conference on Tuesday evening.

READ ALSO: Norway relaxes Covid-19 restrictions but keeps face mask rules

The Norwegian Public Health Institute (NIPH) estimates that between 3 and 4 million people could become infected with the Omicron variant before the summer, according to the Prime Minister. Norway has a total population of roughly 5,4 million people.

“We therefore maintain some measures to prevent too many people from becoming ill and away from work at the same time,” Støre said.

In addition to maintaining some rules, the government has eased the self-isolation rules in place so that fewer people will be prevented from going to work.

The new self-isolation rules, which came into effect at 11pm on February 1st, are laid out in a government press release.

Who has to self-isolate?

Only those who test positive for Covid-19 have to self-isolate. Previously, people living with someone infected by Covid-19 or who were defined as a close contact case also had to self-isolate, but this requirement has now been scrapped.

How long is the isolation period? 

The total self-isolation period for Covid-infected people has been shortened from six to four days.

However, there is a requirement to having been fever-free for at least 24 hours, without taking paracetamol or other fever-reducing medicines, before breaking the quarantine period.

What about contact cases?

People living with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 are recommended – but not required – to get tested every day for five days in a row. The same goes for contact cases with symptoms. Contact cases without symptoms are not recommended to get tested, but are asked to be aware of any symptoms that might develop.

Those who cannot avoid close contact with a Covid positive person during the isolation period are recommended to get tested every day during that period and then every day for five days, so nine days in total.

The government recommends self-testing at home over getting tested a public health station with an antigen or PCR test.

READ ALSO: Norwegian health authority changes guidelines for home Covid-19 tests

Close contact cases are also recommended to wear a face mask in public places indoors and avoid large gatherings for 10 days after their last contact with the infected person. If they develop symptoms, they should stay at home and get tested.

What are the rules in quarantine? 

The rules of the actual quarantine remain unchanged. When self-isolating you are asked to stay at home and only go out for necessary errands that others cannot do for you. This means you can’t go to work and you need to avoid public transport.

You are also supposed to socially distance at home, stay in a separate room and use a different bathroom if possible. You are encouraged to frequently clean surfaces that are often touched. 

Previously, people who were isolating due to close contact with a confirmed Covid case were allowed to leave their homes to walk outside, if they could do this at a distance from others. With contact cases no longer required to self-isolate, this provision becomes obsolete. People who have tested positive should not go outside if they can avoid it, and those rules haven’t changed.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 are also asked to register with the “smittestopp” tracing app.

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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.