Social distance, quarantine and isolation
Social distancing to prevent transmission
Increasing the physical distance between people is intended to limit and delay the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 disease is transmitted mainly by droplet and contact transmission. The more likely it is that you are contagious, the greater the distance you should keep to other people.
How much social distance?
The figure shows the main characteristics of the different forms of social distance.
- Download the poster "How much social distance?"(pdf)
- Brochure about social distance in other languages
Advice for everyone
- Follow good cough etiquette and good hand hygiene.
- You and your closest circle can be together as normal.
- You can decide who is in your closest circle, but they should not be too many and they should be the same people over time.
- Keep an increased distance from others than your closest circle.
- Avoid physical contact, including shaking hands and hugging.
- There should be at least 1 metre distance between you. (Distance between faces is most important. If you stand back-to-back, or behind someone in a queue, there is less risk of transmission. If you are sitting next to each other there should be a metre from shoulder to shoulder).
- If you have respiratory tract symptoms you should stay at home until the symptoms have passed.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should be tested.
Waiting for test results
The main rule is that you shall stay at home until you receive your test results and your general condition is good. You shall not go to work or school, you shall not use public transport or visit public places, and you shall keep a safe distance from other people than your closest contact circle. Your household members do not need to be in quarantine, nor do household members who work in the healthcare service.
With a negative test you can return to work/ school when you are in good general condition (you feel well and have no fever), even though you still may have a few symptoms after the respiratory tract infection.
If the test is taken even though COVID-19 is not suspected (i.e. you have no symptoms or have not been directly exposed) it is not necessary to stay at home while waiting for a test result. For example, this may apply if you are travelling to a country that requires a test, shall visit an institution that requires a test or are taking part in research projects.
- When you suspect that you have COVID-19 disease
- Hand hygiene, cough etiquette, face masks, cleaning and laundry
- Advice for pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Advice for children and adolescents
- Advice for risk groups
- Brochures and videos with general information about coronavirus in other languages
Advice for people in quarantine
People who are in quarantine are basically well but have been in a situation where they may have been infected. This applies to close contacts of people with COVID-19 and people who have been travelling to an area with widespread transmission. They shall be in quarantine for 10 days to prevent infecting others before they develop symptoms themselves.
For close contacts and people in quarantine after travelling, the following apply:
You are in quarantine for 10 days after the last exposure, or after arriving in Norway. Read more about appropriate places for quarantine below.
You can be in normal contact with household members, but avoid visits.
Do not go to work, school, childcare centre or other activity outside the home.
Do not take long trips in Norway.
Do not use public transport.
Avoid places where it is difficult to maintain a distance from other people.
As a rule, you should not visit public places like shops and cafes. If there is no alternative, you may go out to carry out a necessary errand to the supermarket or pharmacy, but ensure that you keep a distance (at least 1 metre) from other people and avoid queues.
You can go for a walk, but keep a distance of at least 1 metre from others.
Be alert for any symptoms. If you develop a fever or respiratory tract symptoms, isolate yourself as soon as possible.
If you get a positive test result, you go into "home isolation."
When in quarantine you must stay in a suitable place:
The most common place to be in quarantine is at home. For another residence to be suitable, it must be possible to avoid contact with others than those you usually live with.
This means that accommodation where you must interact with other guests is not suitable for quarantine. Staying in a motorhome, caravan, tent or cabin on campsites without private bathroom/toilet and kitchen facilities is not acceptable for quarantine if you have to share these facilities with people other than your close contacts/travel companions. The same applies to staying at addresses where you have to share rooms/facilities with others than those you usually live with, such as halls of residence and other homes with shared bathrooms or kitchens.
Quarantine in other people's homes is OK if you and your household are the only guests.
Advice if you are in quarantine and need to use public transport
As a rule, people who are in quarantine shall not use public transport, and shall never use it if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
However, people who are in quarantine after travelling to Norway can, if strictly necessary, use public transport to reach their quarantine accommodation within or outside Norway.
People who are in infection quarantine can only take such a journey after evaluation by the Municipal Medical Officer. The Officer will consider the degree of exposure and any test results when making their assessment. Household members without negative test results will usually not be given permission.
For these journeys, the following apply:
- Take the quickest route
- Face masks must be used during the entire journey in these cases, except for children under 12 years. Use the recommended type of face mask throughout the journey, following the advice for correct use.
- Be extra careful about having good hand hygiene and cough etiquette
- Try to avoid departures where it is not possible to keep at least one metre distance. Use pre-booked/ registered seats where possible.
- If you must stay overnight on the way, use pre-booked accommodation according to the requirements and recommendations for quarantine.
Exemption from quarantine duty
Under some circumstances, exemption from quarantine duty can be given, and in most cases require testing. Read more here:
- Rules about quarantine and exemptions from quarantine duty upon arrival in Norway (Directorate of Health)
- Exemption from duty of quarantine
There are specific recommendations for follow-up and testing of people who are given exemption from duty of quarantine
You have COVID-19 and are in home isolation
People with confirmed COVID-19 must be isolated at home, in a healthcare institution or elsewhere. Home isolation applies for people with probable or confirmed COVID-19 but who do not need to be admitted to hospital.
These apply for people in isolation:
- Do not leave your home, although you can go into your own garden or your own balcony.
- Arrange help from others to perform necessary errands.
- Keep at least 1 metre distance between you and the people you live with, if possible.
- When you are nearer to other household members than 1 metre, it is recommended that you use a face mask if your health allows it. Alternatively, household members should use face masks when they are closer to the patient than 1 metre. Children under 12-13 years of age are not recommended to wear a face mask. For children under 2 years of age, the use of face masks is not recommended.
- If possible, use a separate room and bathroom. Use your own towel and toiletries.
- Agree with your doctor how you should monitor your condition.
- Ring the healthcare service if you need medical attention because your condition has deteriorated (for example, you get breathing difficulties) or other reasons. Explain that you have COVID-19 when you ring so they can then arrange measures to prevent others from being infected. Do not use public transport.
- Clean your home frequently. Clean surfaces such as bathroom sinks, toilets, door handles and kitchen worktops. Ordinary cleaning products are sufficient. Place used textiles and bedding directly in the washing machine and wash at a minimum of 60 ⁰C.
- The people you live with shall be in quarantine.
- The people you live with must be careful about hand hygiene with frequent hand washing with soap and water. Remember to wash or disinfect your hands when you leave the room where the isolated person is staying and after being in contact with the isolated person or equipment they have used, and before leaving the house.
- Your doctor will assess how long you need to be isolated. You need to be isolated for at least 8 days after you become ill.
Skip to content on this page
SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that is causing the outbreak of COVID-19 disease.
The virus is related to another coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002/2003 but is not the same virus.