Testing may replace infection quarantine for children and adolescents
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From 16 August, children and adolescents under the age of 18 may be released from infection quarantine if someone in their class, leisure activity or social circle is infected, as long as they are tested regularly. Household members, romantic partners and equivalent close contacts to people who are infected must still be in quarantine.
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As vaccination coverage is increasing and people with the highest risk of a severe disease course are protected, some easing is being introduced in the quarantine scheme. In many cases, quarantine can be replaced by testing.
Exemptions from infection quarantine
We recommend replacing quarantine with regular testing for those who have been in close contact with infected people, with the exception of household members or equivalent close contacts.
The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health consider that it is now justifiable to grant exemptions from infection quarantine for unvaccinated people under the age of 18 who are close contacts, meaning they have been closer than 2 metres to an infected person for more than 15 minutes.
This should also apply for pupils / students over the age of 18 in educational institutions, if decided by the Municipal Medical Officer. If testing is not possible, the entire quarantine period must be completed.
Household members or equivalent close contacts must still be in infection quarantine. "Equivalent close contacts" include, for example, romantic partners or students who live in the same residence, overnight visitors or best friends. The contact tracing team in the municipality assesses who are “equivalent close contacts” and several factors are considered such as proximity, age, indoor air volume, etc.
New test regime
The Norwegian Directorate of Health and NIPH recommend the implementation of a test regime that provides exemptions to quarantine for this group and considers this to be particularly important for children and adolescents to minimise disproportionate use of quarantine.
- For children over 12 years: First test as soon as possible (day 1) followed by new tests on days 3 and 5.
- For children up to 12 years and 13-year-olds in primary school: First test as soon as possible (day 1) followed by one new test between days 3 and 5.