Historical archive

More targeted self-testing

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Health and Care Services

The Norwegian Government has decided that it will provide free testing for COVID-19 for as long as it is defined as an infectious disease that endangers public safety. Self-tests will be prioritised for people who have symptoms, unvaccinated close contacts, and targeted testing of unvaccinated children and young people.

‘Fortunately everyday life is normal now for most people. More and more people are fully vaccinated and infection rates are levelling off. However, the pandemic is not quite over and there will be a need for some testing going forward. Testing for COVID-19 will continue to be free of charge for the inhabitants of Norway and the state will continue to cover the municipalities’ expenses related to COVID-19 in the same way as before’, says Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.

Testing for COVID-19 has been free of charge throughout the pandemic. On 27 September ‘downscaled TISK’ (testing, isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine) was introduced. This means greater use of self-tests and that fewer people need to complete quarantine. Frequent testing is therefore important in the reopening phase to keep infection rates low. The health authorities recommend that people with symptoms do not hesitate to get tested. Unvaccinated close contacts are advised to get tested if they have been exposed to potential infection.

If self-tests are free of charge and readily available, there is a risk that this could lead to excessive use of the tests. Based on the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s recommendations, the Norwegian Government has therefore decided that self-tests will be prioritised for people who have symptoms, unvaccinated close contacts, and situations where targeted regular testing among unvaccinated children and young people is appropriate. The Directorate of Health will allocate self-tests to the municipalities on the basis of this prioritisation. This will equip the municipalities with a basic stock of self-tests they can offer to prioritised groups as well as maintaining preparedness for handing out tests in the event of local outbreaks.

The Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have been tasked with advising the municipalities about when self-tests should be provided free of charge and who should be prioritised in test allocation, as well as with establishing guidelines for which self-tests will be made available to people who wish to buy such tests themselves.

Ending testing for COVID-19 certificates
In connection with the transition to ‘Normal everyday life with increased preparedness’ on 25 September, COVID-19 certificates are no longer required for domestic use. The system of state funding of testing by private test providers for COVID-19 certificates is therefore ending.