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  • When you are sick or suspect that you have COVID-19 disease

When you are sick or suspect that you have COVID-19 disease

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If you are sick, stay at home. You should be tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

If you are sick, stay at home. You should be tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

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Flowchart for when children should stay at home
Illustration: NIPH

The most common symptoms for COVID-19 are also common for other respiratory tract infections like colds and influenza. Many have a cough and / or fever. It is also common to have loss of sense of smell or taste, headache, lethargy and aching muscles. Some people go on to develop breathing difficulties. 

People are most contagious in the days before and just after symptoms appear.  This applies to SARS-CoV-2 and a range of other respiratory tract viruses.

Advice when you suspect you are infected

  • Stay at home if you are unwell/ have newly-arisen respiratory tract symptoms (fever, cough, difficulties in breathing, headache, lethargy, loss of sense of smell and taste, muscle aches, sore throat, etc.)
  • You should be tested for coronavirus if you have newly arisen respiratory tract symptoms. This can be done at a municipal test station.
  • If you are a pupil or student and are being tested instead of quarantine as directed by the municipality / school / educational institution, you will receive information about the test regimen that replaces the quarantine. Some municipalities will hand out rapid antigen tests for self-testing at home. If you have symptoms or the rapid antigen test is positive, you must take a confirmatory PCR test at a municipal test station and go into isolation.
  • You will find practical information about how, where and when you can be tested on your municipality's website. See the section "About your coronavirus test" below for information on what happens after you have taken a test.
  • It is free for everyone staying in Norway to test for COVID-19 at municipal test centres. This also applies to people without a social security number (without legal residence / undocumented migrants). Healthcare professionals have a duty of confidentiality and cannot pass on information about you and your health.
    More information on testing and health care for people without legal residence in several languages (Helsenorge)

See advice for children:

If you are sick and need medical attention, or need health advice, contact your doctor by telephone or electronically. 

  • If you need more acute medical help and cannot reach your doctor, call the emergency out-of-hours clinic (116 117).  
  • For acute, life-threatening illness, call 113. 

Symptoms of COVID-19, colds and allergies

If you are unsure if you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested. Symptoms of COVID-19 can be difficult to distinguish from other respiratory infections and allergies. This applies, for example, to sore throat, stuffy / runny nose and sneezing. All adults and adolescents should therefore have a low threshold for testing.

The table below can help you to distinguish COVID-19 from other respiratory tract infections and from allergies.

Table 1. Typical symptoms of COVID-19 and allergies.
Symptoms COVID-19 Allergies
Fever Common Rare
Cough Common Sometimes
Breathing difficulties Common Sometimes
Headache Common Sometimes
Lethargy Common Sometimes
Loss of sense of smell and/or taste Common Sometimes
Muscle ache Common Rare
Sore throat Sometimes (common among children) Rare (but itching may be present)
Runny or blocked nose Sometimes Common
Sneezing Rare Common

If you have symptoms after coronavirus vaccination

Reactions in the first 3 days after you are vaccinated with a coronavirus vaccine.

Symptom Action
Symptoms consistent with suspected vaccine side effects

Fever, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue

Stay at home until you no longer have a fever and feel better.

If the symptoms last over 48 hours, consider being tested for coronavirus

Symptoms that are not typical vaccine side effects:  

Cough, sore throat, runny nose, difficulty breathing, lost of taste/smell

Stay at home and arrange to be tested

About your coronavirus test

Some tests can give results within half an hour (rapid antigen tests), other tests (PCR) you usually get results within 1-2 days.

If you are going to use a rapid antigen test, it is recommended to use tests that are clinically evaluated and recommended by the EU for use in the pandemic.

Contact a doctor if you become ill or need medical help while waiting for an answer.

What should you do while waiting for your test results?

  • If you have been tested because you have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, lost of taste/smell), the main rule is to stay home until you have received your test results. This means, do not go to work or school, do not take public transport or visit public places, and keep an extra distance from everyone. Those you live with do not have to stay at home, even if they work in the healthcare service.
  • If you are in quarantine and have been tested because you have common symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell), follow the rules for isolation. The rules for isolation are stricter than quarantine rules. Those you live with must be in quarantine until you have received your test result.
  • If you are in quarantine as a close contact, testing is recommended even if you have no symptoms. 
  • If you have taken the coronavirus test without having COVID-19 symptoms and without being exposed to infection (not in quarantine), you do not need to stay home until you have received a test result. This could be, for example, if you take the test because you are involved in a research project, are going to visit an institution, or need to take a test to be able to travel.

How to get your test results

After 1-2 days, you can find the answer to your test on Helsenorge.no:

If you have coronavirus, it will say that the result is positive. If you do not have coronavirus, it will say that the result is negative.

If the test shows that you have coronavirus (positive test result)

If the test shows that you have coronavirus, you shall be in isolation and the municipality will call you to arrange what we call "contact tracing".

Contact tracing is important to be able to stop the infection. Everyone you live with and everyone you have been close to must therefore be in quarantine.

If you have taken a rapid antigen test with a positive test result, you should contact the municipality's test station to have a confirmatory PCR test taken and go into isolation.

If you use the Smittestopp app, remember to give a message to other users via the app.

The municipality has a duty of confidentiality. It is important that you understand each other, so ask if you have any questions. You can ask for an interpreter if it is difficult to understand the language. The interpreter service is free.

If the test shows that you do not have coronavirus (negative test result)

  • If you took the test because you had symptoms of coronavirus, you can go back to work or school when you have no fever and are feeling well. A slight cough or similar that remains is OK.
  • If you took the test while in quarantine, you must complete the quarantine, even if you feel well, unless the test was taken more than 7 days after exposure, then quarantine can end when the negative test result is available.

See also:

If you have had COVID-19

When you have finished the isolation period, you are no longer considered contagious. Isolation also ends in those cases where others in your household are still in isolation or in quarantine.

Although most people get mild respiratory symptoms, some have persistent symptoms such as loss of / altered sense of taste and smell, residual cough, shortness of breath and decreased general condition, even after isolation period has ended. These symptoms usually go away on their own after a while. In the beginning, it can be good to alternate between rest and gentle physical activity, such as going for a walk.

A few have persistent symptoms over a long period of time. If you have problems that limit your everyday life and do not improve, you should contact your GP.

If you have difficulty breathing, or feel very ill, you should contact the emergency room 116 117, alternatively 113 if you need immediate help.

Information for the general public

For general advice about coronavirus: our topic page and helsenorge.no 

Information helpline for questions about coronavirus: 815 55 015 (weekdays 08-15.30)

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration has answers to many frequently asked questions about travelling to Norway, and a helpline 23351600 that is open on weekdays from 10:00-14:00. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also has answers to many frequently asked questions.

If you need acute medical attention, contact your doctor. If you cannot reach your doctor, contact the emergency out-of-hours clinic on 116117. If life is in danger, call 113.


09.09.2021: Some clarifications in the text.

31.08.2021: Added points about rapid antigen tests

01.07.2021: Removed sentence about waiting quarantine after change in COVID-19 regulations

18.06.2021: Minor text revision. Added If you are in quarantine as a close contact, testing is recommended even if you have no symptoms. Then those you live with must be in waiting quarantine until a negative test result is available.

11.05.2021: New paragraph about after having Covid-19

14.02.2021: Removed the specific symptoms in "What should you do while waiting for your test results?" and emphasised that the main rule is to stay at home.

08.02.2021 Added section "If you have symptoms after coronavirus vaccination"

04.02.2021: Added text about testing and treatment for people who are staying in Norway

07.01.2021: Clarified that all with suspicion of COVID-19 should be tested

18.12.2020: Changed sentence from "If you are in doubt that you are ill, go to koronasjekk.no" to "If you suspect you are infected you should be tested"

01.12.2020: Adjusted title and restructured content in article

14.09.2020: Updated text according to Norwegian version. Edited text in "when you have a respiratory tract infection". Removed "when household members have respiratory tract infection" and "when children have respiratory tract infection" because there was much repetition.

08.09.2020: Changes in "When a household member has an acute respiratory tract infection"; inserted a lenk to "When you have an acute respiratory tract infection" for details on how to act if household member develop symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

04.09.2020: Changes to paragraph about "when you have a respiratory tract infection": It is recommended that anyone with newly-arisen respiratory tract symptoms without a known cause should be tested, and they should stay home until they receive a test result. With a negative test result, you can return to work/ school when you are in good general condition (i.e. you feel well and have no fever), even though you have some symptoms.  

28.08.2020: Section about Children with respiratory tract infections has been updated.

27.08.2020: Changed from "children under 10 years" to "Children of primary school age or younger." Added that "children can return to school/childcare when their general condition is good /back to normal for the child."

24.08.2020: Updated to reflect the current Norwegian version

24.06.2020: Replaced the advice about "stay at home until a day after the symptoms have passed" to "stay at home until the symptoms have passed" for people with respiratory tract infection symptoms.

Shortened first paragraph under "When you have an acute respiratory tract infection."

General changes as per Norwegian text.

Updated according to changes in Norwegian text. Changes throughout.


Added link to test criteria page which is now translated to English. Removed the paragraph about the test criteria.


Updated test criteria and added section about "Why can people with symptoms but who are not tested for coronavirus go back to work after one symptom-free day, while people with confirmed COVID-19 must wait for seven symptom-free days?"