Press release | Date: 24/03/2020 | Ministry of Health and Care Services| No: 55/20
The Government is continuing all the measures implemented to combat the coronavirus outbreak in Norway until over the Easter holiday, through 13 April.
On 12 March 2020, the Government introduced a series of measures in the hope of stopping the spread of the virus. These are the strongest and most sweeping measures Norway has seen in peacetime.
Day-care centres, schools and universities are closed, as are large and small businesses, restaurants, fitness centres and concert venues. Many stores and businesses are without customers as a result of infection control measures.
‘The measures we have imposed appear to be slowing transmission of the virus, but we need more time to see what effect they are having. The Government has adopted a strategy to limit the spread of infection that entails ensuring that infected persons only transmit the virus to a maximum of one other person. If this succeeds, the health service will have the capacity to help all who need it,’ Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.
It is too early to conclude whether the measures being implemented are effective. The Government is therefore continuing the stringent measures, initially through 13 April 2020 (inclusive). The top priority is ensuring that those who become seriously ill, whether from the coronavirus or other causes, can get the help they need in the health service – and that the health service does not become overloaded.
‘We must continue our collective effort to stamp out the virus. We know it is costly, but people across the country are following up. For that I would like to extend my thanks. We have made it through tough times before. And we will this time as well,’ the Prime Minister said.
The health service is introducing a number of measures to give it the capacity to treat people who become ill with COVID-19 while also providing urgent care services as well as treatment for patients with other serious illnesses.
‘Everything we do now is intended to make sure people will receive effective treatment if they become seriously ill,’ said Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie. ‘Norway has a good health service that is now working to increase capacity and redirect resources so it will be as prepared as possible for what could arrive. We are firmly committed to the measures being practised across society to prevent excessive pressure on the health service. At the same time, we are preparing the health service for a situation in which we are less successful than we hope to be in blocking the spread of infection.’
Mr Høie added: ‘The hospitals are now working to reduce planned treatments and surgical operations, and channelling capacity towards patients who need intensive care and respirators. I know this is a burden for those who have to wait for help, but it is necessary if we are to safeguard urgent care and intensive care services. One of the measures being taken is to expand training for nurses from other departments so they can work with intensive care and respiratory patents.’
Some of the key measures to remain in effect through 13 April 2020 (may be extended)
- The strict hygiene measures remain in place. People must maintain physical distance from one another, practice good hand hygiene and cough in paper tissues or their elbow.
- In public spaces, people should keep at least one metre away from other people. When away from home, there should be no more than five people in a group – except for members of a family or the same household. Indoors, people should keep at least two metres away from one another, though this does not apply to family or household members.
- All of the country's day-care centres, primary schools, lower- and upper-secondary schools, universities and university colleges and other educational institutions are to be closed.
- Children in day-care and lower primary school with parents who perform critical public functions are to continue receiving day-care or school services.
- The quarantine and isolation rules applicable after contact with an infected person (infection quarantine) continue in force. If you have been in close contact with someone who has been shown to have the coronavirus, you shall undergo quarantine for 14 days. If you have travelled abroad, you shall undergo quarantine for 14 days from the day of your return home. If you have been diagnosed with the coronavirus or are being tested for it, you must be isolated. This means you must remain home at all times and not go out. If the test is negative, you shall complete the quarantine period.
- The rules for quarantine upon entering Norway from abroad (travel quarantine) remain in force with the exemptions and clarifications that currently apply.
- The rules for rejection at the border of foreign nationals who do not live or work in Norway remain in force, with the exemptions and clarifications that currently apply.
- Border control of the internal Schengen borders is extended.
- Healthcare professionals working in patient care are prohibited from travelling abroad. This prohibition applies to both professional and private travel, with effect, for now, through April 2020.
- Cultural events, sporting events and organised sporting activities, both indoors and outdoors, are prohibited.
- All restaurants, bars, pubs and social establishments are to remain closed with the exception of serving places where food is served, such as canteens and eating establishments, that can accommodate a distance of at least 1 metre between visitors.
- Food shall not be served buffet-style.
- Fitness centres, swimming pools, water parks and similar establishments are to remain closed.
- Establishments that provide hairdressing, skin care, massage, body care, tattooing, piercing and similar services are to remain closed.
- The prohibition against staying at cabins/leisure properties is maintained.
- All of the country’s driver and vehicle licencing offices are closed.
- Public transport services are to remain in operation.
See the complete overview of national measures (regjeringen.no, in Norwegian) introduced by the Norwegian authorities to deal with the coronavirus situation.