Press release | Date: 05/11/2020 | Ministry of Health and Care Services| No: 154/20
Norway stands at the beginning of the second wave of infection. The virus is spreading rapidly and all counties now have outbreaks of infection. The Government is therefore introducing new national infection control measures.
“My message to the Norwegian people is: Stay at home as much as possible. Have the least possible social contact with others. Together we can reverse the alarming trend in infection rates, but it requires all of us to be a part of this huge effort in the coming weeks,” says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
She emphasises that the most important thing is that everyone follows the basic advice of keeping your distance, keeping your hands clean, staying at home when you are sick, and keeping down the number of people you meet.
“We are now seeing a sharp increase in people who are testing positive. The situation is very serious, and it is challenging for many municipalities to track the infection. We don’t have time to wait and see if the measures we introduced last week are sufficient. We must act now to avoid a new shutdown like we had in March,“ says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
There has been a significant increase in the spread of infection in recent weeks. At the beginning of August, there were 300 new infections per week. The number of cases has jumped significantly since then, and in the last week of October, 3,000 new infections were registered. In the last three weeks, Norway has seen more than 6,000 new infections. The curve is becoming steeper with each week.
“If this trend continues, it will create major challenges for the health service, as we see happening in country after country in Europe. We are therefore introducing new measures that are adapted to the infection situation we are now in. It’s especially important to target the measures so that we reduce social contact and travel to and from abroad,” says Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.
Below are key recommendations and advice that currently apply.
Recommendations for everyone across the country Social contact
- Recommendation that everyone in the coming weeks must stay at home as much as possible and limit social contact with other people. (New)
- The number of guests at social gatherings in private homes, gardens or cabins should not exceed five, in addition to the household members. If all the guests come from the same household, more than five guests are permitted. Two families with many children can still meet.
- The restriction limiting social gatherings to five guests does not apply to day care centre or primary school cohorts.
- Young people and adults who have been with friends and in other situations where they have not been one metre apart, should stay two metres away from people in the risk group. (New)
- In addition to the recommendations, there will be a new rule for how many people can be at private gatherings and events, see under rules for the whole country.
- Avoid unnecessary domestic travel. Work travel that is considered necessary and trips to leisure properties that can be carried out without contact with others are exempt. (New)
Schools and education
- All universities, university colleges and vocational schools must assess whether in the period ahead they can reduce teaching and other activities that contribute to increased mobility, including pressure on public transport. (New)
- Upper secondary schools and lower secondary schools must prepare for the fact that the level of measures may turn red, if the infection rate continues to rise. (New)
Rules for everyone throughout the country
Private gatherings and events
- Limit of up to 20 people at private gatherings in public places and in rented venues and 50 people at indoor events without fixed seats. Indoors, there can be up to 200 people at events where everyone in the audience sits in fixed seats. The change will enter into force at midnight, Monday 9 November. (New)
- National ban on serving alcohol after midnight. Restaurants with a licence to sell alcohol cannot let in new guests after 22.00. This will take effect from from 00:01 Saturday November 7th. (New)
Quarantines and travel
- Work travellers who have been in an area where the level of infection is particularly high during the 10-day period before their arrival in Norway will no longer be able to be exempted from the duty of quarantine during work hours on the basis of undergoing a test for Covid-19 once every three days, see Section 6c of the Covid-19 regulations. The general requirement to go into quarantine on entry to Norway will therefore apply in principle to all workers arriving from these areas.
- For workers who may make use of the exemption from the duty of quarantine set out in Section 6c of the Covid-19 regulations, the following amendments to the rules have been made: workers who are allowed to work but must be in quarantine during leisure time are to be tested once every three days and must be given accommodation in a single room for the first 10 days of their stay in Norway The employer must ensure that it is possible to maintain social distancing when workers are undergoing quarantine during leisure time. There is no longer any exemption to the requirement to go into quarantine on entry to Norway during leisure time.
- Travellers from red countries must present a certificate of a negative Covid-19 test when they arrive in Norway. The test must have been taken less than 72 hours before entry. If the person does not present such a test, he or she may be refused entry. This will be implemented from midnight, Monday 9 November. (New)
- The requirement will not apply to Norwegians, persons who reside in Norway or persons in transit.
- The requirement does not apply to people who regularly come to Norway from Sweden and Finland to work.
- The requirement applies to health personnel who commute to Norway and who have been outside Norway for more than seven days.
- Personnel with jobs critical to society may be exempted when necessary to avoid danger to life and health.
- Persons who come to Norway must have a permanent residence in the country, or the employer or client must provide a guarantee of a suitable place of residence upon arrival in Norway. Persons, including tourists and visitors, who do not have their own residence or employer or client in Norway must stay in quarantine hotels and get tested during the quarantine period. This also applies to family members who come to visit relatives in Norway. The Norwegian Directorate of Health has been tasked with studying how these requirements can be introduced. Until this is established, border controls will be strengthened in accordance with existing regulations. (New)
New measures in regions with widespread infection
The Government is adding several measures that municipalities in residential and working regions with high contagion pressure should consider introducing.
The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health will assess exactly which measures are relevant in different regions of the country, so that it is clear which measures are necessary to assess when the infection situation develops. Municipalities in a residential and working region that introduce measures should make them the same and coordinated as possible. The circular with proposals for local measures will be updated in accordance with the changes.
- Halt in recreational sports for adults
- Consider a halt to recreational sports for children and young people under the age of 20
- Additional restrictions on restaurants, such as a complete stop to serving alcohol or closing at 22.00 to reduce the number of visitors during an evening
- Additional restrictions on the size of various events
- Recommendation on the use of face masks in taxis when their use is recommended in public transport
- Red level in upper secondary schools. Lower secondary schools should prepare for the red level
- Two metres distance for indoor physical activities
- Mandatory home office
- Stronger recommendation to avoid public transport
- Close or restrict operations and activities that have a high potential for spreading infection, such as swimming pools, gyms, sports halls, bingo halls, museums, libraries, event venues without fixed seats and other public places where many people meet indoors
Work in progress:
- The Norwegian Directorate of Health is tasked with studying whether rapid testing should be recommended or adopted at a national level before employees go to work in nursing homes and care homes, and the use of face masks in such places.
- The Norwegian Directorate of Health is tasked with updating professional advice that will protect vulnerable groups in the health and care services. The Norwegian Directorate of Health shall also prepare guidelines and guidance material that will ensure necessary services for service recipients living at home and their next of kin.
- The Norwegian Directorate of Health is tasked with revising guidelines on infection control in public transport and introducing stricter measures. This also applies to school buses.