Government amends Covid-19 regulations relating to quarantine hotels. The most recent change sees the removal of the requirements to stay in a quarantine hotel for persons whose stay is for purposes other than work or an assignment and who can document that they have access to another suitable location for their quarantine stay.
‘Some of the rules related to quarantine hotels have been the subject of criticism and have been seen as unfair. I understand this point of view. That is why we have now changed several of the rules in question, and I hope that this will make it easier for people to travel home this Christmas. At the same time, everyone must remember to ensure that they complete their quarantine in accordance with the infection control regulations,’ says Minister of Justice and Public Security, Monica Mæland (Conservative).
Here are some of the most important changes that apply to you if you are arriving in Norway:
- Persons who are able to document access to a permanent residence in Norway will be permitted to quarantine at that location, regardless of whether this residence is owned or rented.You will be able to stay in your own home while undergoing quarantine.
- Other persons whose stay is for purposes other than work or an assignment and who can document that they have access to a suitable location other than a quarantine hotel for their quarantine stay.A suitable location must be a private room with access to dedicated bathroom facilities, a separate kitchen or eating facility, and it must be possible to avoid close contact with others.
- The traveller must provide confirmation that this accommodation fulfils the stipulated requirements issued by the individual placing the accommodation at the disposal of the traveller
A standard confirmation form is available via regjeringen.no and helsenorge.no. This will not apply to those persons who quarantine in their own homes, regardless of whether their home is owned or rented.
- Exemptions will apply to persons who are married to or have children with a person who has a permanent residence in Norway, as well as their children under the age of 18.This group of people may undergo quarantine in the home of their spouse in Norway, or the home of their co-parent. In the case of this group, the current rules have had a disproportionate impact.
- Persons in the same household who enter Norway together who are not arriving for the purposes of work or an assignment may undergo quarantine within the same suitable accommodation without any additional requirements in terms of private bedrooms for each member of the household.
- The exemption for employees and contractors will continue to apply. This group will only be exempt from undergoing quarantine in a quarantine hotel if their employer or customer undertakes to ‘guarantee the provision’ of suitable accommodation where it is possible to avoid close contact with others, with a private bedroom including TV and internet access, appropriate bathroom facilities, and a separate kitchen or eating facility, and if they are able to provide confirmation of this.
- An additional exemption has been added for long-distance hauliers and allied military departments.This is a consequential adjustment as a result of these groups having their own quarantine regulations.
- The excess payable by employers and customers using contractors in relation to employee and contractor accommodation in quarantine hotels will be reduced from NOK 1500 to NOK 500 per day. Private individuals who stay in quarantine hotels while undergoing quarantine will be required to pay an excess of NOK 500 per day. Children under the age of 10 years old staying in a room with their parent or guardian will not be required to pay an excess. Children aged 10 to 18 years old will be required to pay an excess of NOK 250 per day.
Exemption from quarantine in case of serious illness or the funeral service of a loved one
The government is amending the Covid-19 regulations to grant exemptions to persons from the requirement to quarantine in order to allow visits to loved ones who are seriously ill or to participate in the funeral service or burial of a loved one.
‘I hope that this change will improve circumstances for people with loved ones who face these very difficult situations,’ says Bent Høie, Minister of Health and Care Services.
The exemption from the quarantine requirement will only apply for the duration of the instance which the exemption is being granted for. Persons will otherwise be required to quarantine as usual. Exemptions of this type will be granted by the chief municipal medical officer.
Persons who have been granted exemptions from quarantine must avoid close contact with all people they do not live with, insofar as this is possible.
Exemptions from the requirement to quarantine will cease to apply if the individual develops acute respiratory symptoms and a fever, cough or shortness of breath, and are assessed by a physician to have a suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Persons who are granted exemptions should take tests for SARS-CoV-2 insofar as this is possible.
Isolation for persons in quarantine hotels due to infection
Municipalities will offer accommodation free of charge to those persons who are infected and must isolate when it is not appropriate for them to remain at home on the grounds of infection control. This will also apply to those in quarantine in quarantine hotels following their arrival in Norway. It is important that municipalities quickly evaluate whether infected persons are able to remain in quarantine hotels or whether they should be moved elsewhere.
We have confidence that municipalities already have good procedures in place to evaluate this as quickly as possible and offer appropriate accommodation to those who test positive while in quarantine hotels. We are now emphasising the importance of this through a statutory regulation.
Suitable accommodation in the case of quarantine and isolation due to infection
The same requirements will apply in terms of accommodation whether this is for quarantine upon arrival in Norway, due to infection or isolation. We have therefore set out the same requirements in a statutory regulation: It should be possible to avoid close contact with others, and there should be a private bedroom, dedicated bathroom facilities and a separate kitchen or dining area. It is nevertheless important to recognise that the requirements in place for those who are isolating, as opposed to undergoing quarantine, are far stricter. They must isolate from all other persons in their own home or accommodation, and from other members of their household insofar as this is possible.
Specific rules for quarantine upon entry to Norway for military personnel involved in exercises, etc.
The Norwegian Armed Forces must undertake exercises in order to uphold Norwegian security policy. Military units are also well-equipped to deal with infection control measures. It is thus being established by means of a statutory order that foreign military units arriving in Norway for training, exercises or operations approved by the Ministry of Defence will be exempt from requirements to stay in quarantine hotels and private bedroom accommodation. Troops of up to 40 persons may undergo quarantine upon their arrival in Norway in a garrison, military camp, tent camp, in the field, or equivalent. A requirement has been established requiring them to be physically separated from other cohorts, Norwegian units and the civilian population. The quarantine scheme will be subject to approval by the Norwegian Armed Forces Joint Medical Services.
No changes to quarantine rules
The quarantine hotel scheme changes apply only to requirements relating to where quarantine is undertaken.
Persons arriving in Norway from red countries must undergo 10 days of quarantine upon arrival – regardless of whether this takes place in a quarantine hotel, at home or at another suitable location.
Persons in quarantine following their arrival in Norway may only leave their accommodation if they are able to avoid close contact with others.
Any breach of the quarantine rules may result in punitive fines.