In order to maintain control of the spread of infection and to limit new increases in infection rates, strengthened national infection prevention measures are being implemented on a temporary basis for two weeks effective 4 January.
‘Since Christmas, we have seen fewer people taking tests and the percentage of positive results among those people who have been taking tests has gone up. The infection is on the rise and is spreading to new parts of the country. I’m now asking for everyone to join in an all-out-effort to avoid a new wave of infection,’ says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Based on advice from the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the government has decided to strengthen its infection prevention measures and adjust the current national recommendations to ensure that municipalities have the capacity to deal with local outbreaks and to put in place additional testing capacity. The registration systems for arrivals in the country from abroad will also be phased in at the same time.
‘The aim of the new, stricter measures is to break any new wave of infection. We must now wait to resume social life until 14 days have passed in what will be a New Year social break for everyone,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.
These measures will apply on a temporary basis for 14 days while the government seeks to establish a better overview of the situation.
‘Municipalities also need more time and resources to plan and begin carrying out vaccinations. This is a massive and important task, which will mean it is difficult for municipalities to deal with multiple local outbreaks simultaneously,’ says Høie.
Recommendations for everyone across the country
- Avoid hosting guests in your home. Wait 14 days to make private visits. Exemptions apply for necessary home-based services and visits to people who may die soon. Persons who live alone may receive visits from or pay visits to one or two specific friends or to one specific household. Children in kindergartens and primary schools may receive visits from members of their own cohort. (New)
- It is recommended that all organised leisure activities, sporting activities, cultural events and
indoor faith community gatherings be postponed until after 18 January. This also applies to all indoor activities that bring together children and young people across classes/cohorts. (New)
- Avoid all non-essential travel domestically and abroad. Stays in cabins with persons from the same household continue to be permitted provided they take place in accordance with all applicable local and national rules and guidelines.
Schools and education
- All teaching and planned events at universities, university colleges and vocational training schools will take place digitally until 18 January. (New)
- All upper and lower secondary schools in Norway will switch to a red level of alert. (New)
- No national guidance has been issued instructing the closure of folk university college or Bible schools. Folk university colleges should comply with all recommendations and guidelines issued by the local health authorities.
- Working from home is advised for everybody who is able to do so. (New)
- All shopping centres and shops must introduce limits on the number of customers permitted inside to enable distancing and to control access to the premises. During the course of the coming days, the government will assess whether to introduce these limits on customer numbers and access control requirements into law. (New)
- Outdoor activities may be undertaken if it is possible to maintain appropriate distancing.
- Elite sports and cultural practitioners who have special exemptions and are subject to separate regulation are not subject to these rules.
Private gatherings and events
- A maximum of five people may gather for private gatherings, such as a birthday in hired premises, outside their own some home. If there are more than five members of one household, then all members of the household are permitted to meet. (New)
- There is a limit of ten people for indoor sporting events, cultural events, seminars, faith community gatherings, ceremonies, etc., in addition to a limit of 200 people where everyone in the audience is seated in fixed seating. Up to 50 people are permitted to attend funerals, even if the seating is not fixed. (New)
- Regardless, the majority of these events will not comply with the current national guidelines and should therefore be postponed or cancelled.
Outdoor venues and hospitality
- A national ban is being introduced on the serving of alcohol in licensed restaurants, bars, cafes, as well as at events. (New)
- The special rules applicable to church walks will be discontinued imminently, instead of from 15 January as previously scheduled. (New)
New measures in municipalities regions with widespread infection
The Government is announcing several measures that municipalities and regions with high rates of infection should consider introducing.
- Whether primary schools and kindergartens should comply with the guidelines applicable to ‘red alert level’.
- A requirement for the use of face coverings in public places where it is not possible to maintain a distance of one metre or more from others.
- A requirement for people to work from home to the extent that this is possible.
- A requirement for the closure of fitness centres, bingo halls and swimming baths.