Historical archive

Norway to remain at Step 3

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher The Office of the Prime Minister

Due to the infection rate and the considerable pressure on the municipalities, the Norwegian Government has decided to remain at Step 3 of the reopening plan until more people have been fully vaccinated.

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‘In Norway, the pandemic is increasing in severity due to the Delta variant and because people are in more contact with others, now that the summer holiday is over. We want children and young people to study as normal and recommended that the municipalities start at green level. The back-to-school period has been difficult in many places throughout the country for students, teachers, and the municipalities. The municipalities need time to gain better control over the situation. This is why we will remain at Step 3’, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Control over the infection rate
The Norwegian Government continues to want to keep COVID-19 transmission under control until more people are fully vaccinated. The strategy will continue to be for local outbreaks to be handled by applying local measures. Introducing new national measures now would not be appropriate for people who live in areas where there is little or no infection.

‘During the pandemic, we have seen that the municipalities are good at handling local outbreaks. We trust that the municipalities will continue to make good assessments in the time ahead. I would like to encourage municipalities with a high infection rate to consider whether having schools at yellow level would be better than remaining at green level. In some cases, yellow level may lead to children actually getting to spend more time at school. I am confident that the municipalities, in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health, will make sound and relevant decisions’, states the Prime Minister.

In several parts of the country there are schools with very high infection rates. The infection rate is rising among the younger age groups in particular, and is clearly highest in the age group 13–19 years.

The best interests of children
‘Throughout the pandemic we have focused on the best interests of children and young people, but we know that the youngest have carried a heavy burden. Now we want to give them the opportunity to live as normally as possible’, says Ms Solberg.

Municipalities experiencing large outbreaks among children and young people should consider moving to yellow level for a while in order to gain control of the situation.

‘They can also use regular mass testing to keep track of who is infected and who can go to school’, states Ms Solberg.

The Norwegian Government has also decided to follow the Norwegian Institute of Public Health's advice to offer children aged 12–15 a vaccine.

Further reopening delayed
The Norwegian Government will not proceed with the reopening now, and will remain at Step 3 until we can move to normal everyday life with increased emergency preparedness.

‘This will depend on data, not dates. The most important factor is that we are close to reaching our ambition of full vaccination of 90 per cent of the adult population’, explains Ms Solberg.

The Prime Minister points out that Step 3 involves a large number of rules and considerable advice intended to prevent transmission. The main ones are to stay home when sick, keep a distance, and keep our hands clean. This also applies to people who are fully vaccinated.

‘Handling local outbreaks with local measures remains the right approach. It is important for the municipalities to implement measures when necessary. This will allow us to keep the situation under control’, says Ms Solberg.

Normal everyday life with increased emergency preparedness
The phase that is called ‘normal everyday life with increased emergency preparedness’ can be summarised in two points:

  • The pandemic will have little impact on people's everyday lives. You need to continue to remember hand and cough hygiene, stay home when you are unwell, and take a test when the advice calls for it.

  • At the same time, the local and national authorities will closely monitor the situation, so that measures can be implemented quickly if the situation changes. The Norwegian Government, the health authorities, the hospitals, and the municipalities will operate with increased infection surveillance and emergency preparedness.

Take the second dose
Almost 90 per cent of the adult population has now received one vaccine dose. Over 70 per cent of all adults have received two vaccine doses.

‘I encourage everyone to accept their municipality's invitation to have their second dose earlier. This will give them better protection, both from becoming seriously ill and from transmitting COVID-19 to others. While we vaccinate the last few people, it is important to remember the measures we have become experts at: stay home when we are sick, keep our hands clean, and keep a distance outside private homes. This also applies to people who are fully vaccinated’, says Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.

Changes to the TISK strategy
The Norwegian Government is keeping the test-isolate-trace-and-quarantine (TISK) strategy in its current form, but plans to transition to an adjusted strategy soon, following consultation with the municipalities and the county governors regarding the content and when it should enter into effect.

‘The adjusted TISK strategy includes changing the duty to quarantine, so that it only applies to household members and equally close relations’, says Mr Høie.

This will also reduce the contact tracing burden on the municipalities. Routine contact tracing will only include household members and equally close relations. The infected person or others, for example their parents, school, or sports team, will be responsible for contacting other close contacts, and advising them to take a test.

‘The adjusted TISK strategy will enter into effect when the municipalities are ready’, says Mr Høie.

Adjustments to Step 3
The Norwegian Government has decided to make further adjustments to Step 3 of the reopening plan, following a recommendation from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

When events are organised that require a COVID-19 certificate, a maximum of 5 000 people may attend indoor events with designated seating (previously 3 000), and 10 000 people may attend outdoor events (previously 7 000). The rule regarding maximum 50 per cent capacity will not change. The changes will enter into effect on Saturday 4 September at 12 am.

‘At the same time, we are now asking the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to assess whether people who have only received one dose should continue to be issued a green COVID-19 certificate for domestic use. We know that one dose does not provide the same level of protection against the Delta variant as two doses. This is why we will conduct an assessment of whether people from now on must be either fully vaccinated, hold a recent test result, or have recovered from COVID-19 during the past year in order to receive a green COVID-19 certificate’, explains Mr Høie.

There will also be a few adjustments to the entry restrictions. Among other things, romantic partners and grandparents from third countries will be able to visit from 12 September at 12 am

‘We know that many people have been waiting for this. Arriving travellers will need to follow quarantine and testing rules’, states Mr Høie.

Here is a list of national measures which will apply from 2 September. Areas with a high infection rate can also implement local measures.  

Requirements for entry into Norway
Continued entry restrictions. The entry restrictions and quarantine rules are categorised green, orange, red, dark red, and purple, depending on the infection rate.

People are still recommended to holiday in Norway.

Travellers who can provide documentation that they are fully vaccinated, or of recovery from COVID-19 during the past 6 months, using the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate, the NHS COVID Pass from Wales/England, or a COVID certificate from Northern Ireland may enter the country and are exempt from the requirement to take a test before arrival in Norway or at the border crossing point, as well as from travel quarantine.

From 12 September, entry into Norway will be allowed for foreign nationals from third countries who have one of the following relationships with a person residing in Norway:

  • adult child or step-child and parent or step-parent of an adult child/step-child

  • grandparent or step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild
  • romantic partner over the age of 18 or the romantic partner’s minor child

Social contact in private homes
Recommendation of a maximum of 20 guests. People are encouraged to meet others outdoors. The maximum number of guests in a private home does not include protected people (people who are fully vaccinated, people who are protected 3 weeks after receiving their first dose of the vaccine, and people who have recovered from COVID-19 during the past 6 months), but it must still be possible to keep a distance.

Protected people may have close social contact (less than 1 metre) with other protected people and unprotected people who do not belong to any risk groups in private settings, such as the home.

Children in kindergarten and primary school may receive visits from other children in their cohort/class/section, even if this exceeds the maximum number of guests recommended.

Shops
Shops must implement measures to ensure that a distance of at least 1 metre is kept, as well as having procedures for good infection prevention.

Restaurants, cafés, and bars
No admission after midnight.

A requirement to register guests, only serve alcohol at tables, a reduced number of guests, seats for all guests, and a distance requirement.

Travel
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs still advises against non-essential travel to countries outside the EEA/Schengen area and the UK and selected third countries (purple countries).

Domestic travel is permitted. Unprotected people should take extra care and plan the trip in such a way as to prevent spread of infection. This is particularly important for people who travel from areas with a high rate of infection.

People who are not protected and who travel to municipalities with measures that are less strict than in their home municipality should follow the recommendations that apply in the municipality they visited before the trip.

Kindergartens and schools
Kindergartens and schools follow the traffic light model with green, yellow, or red level measures in accordance with local assessments made by each municipality.

It is recommended that municipalities move to yellow level at school in situations where this is expected to result in higher attendance by pupils and teachers than with green level.

Higher education
Physical teaching at the beginning of the autumn semester.

The names of the people present and what seat they are in should be registered to make contact tracing easier.

Work
General infection control measures.

Combination of working from home and/or flexible working hours.

Employers will have greater freedom to determine whether it is necessary for people to work from home in light of the local infection risk. People must be able to keep a distance of 1 metre from other people.

Protected people do not need to keep a distance from other people at the workplace, but should take special consideration of unprotected people who belong to risk groups. 

Events
Events should be organised outdoors rather than indoors.

People who are not protected and come from areas with a high rate of infection should not attend events in other municipalities.

Private events
Up to 100 people at a public venue or in a rented/borrowed venue indoors or outdoors.

Public events
The maximum number of people depends on:

  • use of the COVID-19 certificate/testing

  • designated seating

  • whether the event takes place outdoors or indoors

Without use of the COVID-19 certificate:

 

Indoors

Outdoors

With designated seating

Maximum 1 000 people. Up to 500 people per cohort.

Maximum 2 000 people. Up to 500 people per cohort.

Without designated seating

Maximum 400 people. Up to 200 people per cohort.

Maximum 800 people. Up to 200 people per cohort.

With use of the COVID-19 certificate:

 

Indoors

Outdoors

With designated seating

Maximum 5 000 people (previously 3 000). Up to 500 people per cohort, max. 50% capacity.

Maximum 10 000 people (previously 7 000). Up to 500 people per cohort, max. 50% capacity.

Without designated seating

Maximum 1 500 people. Up to 500 people per cohort, max. 50% capacity.

Maximum 3 000 people. Up to 500 people per cohort, max. 50% capacity.

See the plan for a gradual reopening for more details.

 Sports, culture, and leisure activities
Outdoor activities are recommended rather than indoor activities.

Participants are exempt from the recommendation of a 1-metre distance indoors and outdoors, when necessary, in order to participate in the activity.

The recommended group size for adults is up to 30 people indoors and up to 40 people outdoors.

Athletes may participate at sports events or inter-regional competitions (at the national level) both outdoors and indoors, without needing to keep a distance of 1 metre.

Amateur dancers, musicians and dramatic artists are exempt from the 1-metre rule at both outdoor and indoor cultural events, even if they do not train or practice together regularly.

Elite sports
Elite sports may go ahead as normal. This means that series matches may go ahead outdoors and indoors.