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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

Increasing the phyical 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 (FIGURE IS BEING UPDATED)

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

Advice for everyone

  • Follow good cough etiquette and good hand hygiene.
  • You and your closest contacts can be together as normal - you decide who they are.
  • Keep an increased distance from others than your closest contacts.
  • If you have respiratory tract symptoms you should stay at home.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should be tested.

See also:

Advice to close contacts

Close contacts are basically well but have been in a situation where they may have been infected. The majority of close contacts do not become sick, but they should be followed up for 10 days from their last exposure to prevent them from infecting others before they realise they are sick.   

A distinction is made between "household members and equivalent close contacts" who need to be in quarantine and "other close contacts" who are followed up with testing and advice. The person responsible for contact tracing decides which category the person belongs to after assessing the risk of infection.

For all close contacts, the following apply: 

  • Limit the number of people you have close contact with, avoid large gatherings and crowds.
  • People who live together and are regular partners can be in normal contact.
  • People you live with are not in quarantine.
  • If you have symptoms of respiratory tract infections you should isolate yourself and be tested.
  • A negative test does not shorten the time in quarantine or follow up.
  • A positive test result means that you are in home isolation.

For "household members or equivalent close contacts" who shall be in quarantine for 10 days, the following apply: 

  • You can be in normal contact with household members. 
  • Do not go to work or school.
  • 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 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. 

For "other close contacts" who shall be followed up for 10 days, the following apply: 

  • You can go to school or work.
  • Check daily for symptoms of respiratory tract infections or if you feel unwell
  • You should be tested as soon as possible, and take a new test 2-3 days after the first test.
  • If you are a healthcare worker and have contact with patients, inform your employer to assess if you should go to work.

Quarantine on arrival in Norway

Quarantine is also a requirement for people who have been travelling abroad.

From 1st June 2020, the government is opening for similar quarantine rules to and from all the Nordic countries: 

From 15th June, it will no longer be a requirement for 10 days quarantine upon arrival in Norway from Denmark. This applies to residents in Norway who have been to Denmark, and residents in Denmark who come to Norway.

Exemption from quarantine duty

People with essential roles in safeguarding operations linked to life and health may be exempt from quarantine obligations when they are at work. Use of this exemption needs to be agreed with the general manager of the company/institution.


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.
  • 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.
  • Isolation lasts until 3 days after you have recovered and at least 8 days after you became sick. 

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.