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Social distance, quarantine and isolation

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Here you will find information about why social distancing is important, who should be in quarantine or isolation and how it should be carried out.

Here you will find information about why social distancing is important, who should be in quarantine or isolation and how it should be carried out.

Social distancing to prevent transmission

The advice about social distancing is intended to limit and delay the COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 disease is transmitted mainly by droplet and contact transmission so limiting the frequency of contact is important to limit transmission. Increasing the distance between people will delay the pandemic.

It is most important to reduce contact between people who are sick and people in the risk groups. Therefore we give differing advice about social distancing for different groups, depending on how likely it is that they are contagious.

How much social distance?

The figure shows the main characteristics of the different forms of social distance

How much social distance?. Illustration: NIPH, April 2020
How much social distance?. Illustration: NIPH, April 2020

Advice and measures for all

  • Follow good cough etiquette and good hand hygiene, and try to avoid touching your face. See: Hygiene and cleaning
  • People who live together and are regular partners can be in normal contact
  • Avoid shaking hands, and avoid kissing and hugging people you do not live with or are your regular partner.
  • Keep a good distance from others, both at work, outside and other places you visit.
  • Limit the number of people you have close contact with, or are visited by, to a few at a time.
  • Healthy children can be together both inside and outside, but in small groups.
  • Postpone large gatherings that are not essential.
  • Avoid social stigma and exclusion.
  • If you have acute respiratory tract symptoms you should stay at home until a day after you are well again.

This advice is especially important for people in risk groups.

See also:

Home quarantine

People who are in home quarantine are healthy but have been in a situation where they may have been infected. This applies to everyone who has been travelling abroad and people who have been told by the healthcare service that they are defined as a close contact for someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The aim of quarantine is to avoid infecting others before you develop symptoms yourself.

This applies for people in home quarantine: : 

  • Do not go to work or school.
  • You can be in normal contact with household members. 
  • Do not take long trips in Norway or travel abroad.
  • 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 shop or pharmacy, but ensure that you maintain 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, you should isolate yourself as soon as possible. 

How long does home quarantine last?

As a rule, home quarantine shall last for 10 days. A negative test result will not shorten the quarantine period.  

If you live with a person who is in home quarantine, you are not in quarantine but you should monitor your own symptoms, like the rest of the population.

Since close contacts do not have symptoms, they are assumed to pose a low risk for further transmission. It is therefore not necessary for you or household members to follow specific advice beyond basic infection control measures.  

People with essential roles in safeguarding operations linked to life and health may be exempt from quarantine obligations when they are at work. 

Home isolation

People with confirmed COVID-19 must be isolated at home, in a healthcare institution or somewhere else. Home isolation applies for people with probable or confirmed COVID-19 but who do not need to be admitted to hospital.  

This applies 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.
  • 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. Say that you have COVID-19 when you ring. 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 counters. 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 are in quarantine, see section above.
  • 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 isolated person is staying and after being in contact with the isolated person or equipment they have used, and before leaving the house.
  • Isolation lasts until 3 days after you have recovered and at least 8 days after you became ill. 

See also:

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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.