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The Norwegian Government is introducing new national measures to delay the spread of the Omicron variant. People are recommended to keep a distance and to avoid shaking hands and hugging each other.
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Both the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health stress that it is necessary to quickly implement measures to delay the spread of the Omicron variant. This will give us time to learn more about the virus. The Norwegian Government is therefore introducing three national recommendations today,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.
‘The Norwegian Government is closely monitoring the situation. It is possible that stricter measures will be implemented later, if necessary,’ states Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The measures to reduce contact are:
- Keep a distance from other people, preferably 1 meter when possible. Avoid hugging others (new) or shaking hands.
- Recommendation for workplaces to ensure that employees work from home for all or part of the week, when this is possible without having a negative impact on important and necessary services - for example, so that a total of 50% of the workforce is at the workplace (new).
- We are asking adults to consider whether they can slightly reduce the number of their close contacts (new).
- There is a national recommendation to wear a face covering when you are in contact with the health and care service.
- There is a national recommendation to wear a face covering on public transport, in taxis, shops, and in shopping centres if it is not possible to keep a distance.
People are also recommended to wear a face covering in places where there are many people and it is difficult to keep a distance, for example at the cloakroom after attending an event or when you are in a crowd leaving a football stadium.
Omicron-related measures that have already been introduced
Several national measures were introduced on Monday 29 November 2021 to limit and delay the spread of the Omicron variant in Norway. These measures are:
- The isolation period has been extended to 7 days for people who receive a positive test result when there is reason to believe they have been infected with the Omicron variant.
- Transmission quarantine is required for 10 days for close contacts who are household members or corresponding close relations of people who there is reason to believe have been infected with the Omicron variant. They are required to take a PCR test as soon as possible and on day 7. They may leave quarantine if they receive a negative test result on day 7.
- A duty to get tested was introduced for other close contacts if infection with the Omicron variant is suspected. They must be tested as soon as possible using a PCR test and between days 3 and 7 after the close contact. If possible, they should avoid close contact with other people until the first test returns a negative result.
- All of the measures apply regardless of a person's vaccination status.
- The duties will cease to apply if there is confirmation later that the person with COVID-19 does not have the Omicron variant.
These measures were in addition to the entry restrictions that were introduced on 27 November. These included rules stating that all people who arrive in Norway after having visited South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Malawi are under an obligation to get tested before arrival, upon arrival, and 7 days after arrival.
They also have a duty to complete 10 days of travel quarantine, even if they can present documentation that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19. A ban was also introduced on direct flights from these countries.