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.
- 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 and stay at home until you have a negative test result AND you are free of symptoms.
- 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 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" and "other close contacts". Examples of equivalent close contact to someone in a household are romantic partner, nearest colleagues in an open-plan office, same cohort in childcare centre or school up to and including 4th grade, or someone who has cared for a sick person without using the recommended protective equipment. The person responsible for contact tracing decides which category the person belongs to after assessing the risk of infection.
People who in quarantine after arriving in Norway shall follow the same advice as "household members and equivalent contacts."
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 positive test result means that you are in home isolation.
For "household members or equivalent 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.
- You can be in normal contact with household members, but avoid visits.
- 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.
- When in quarantine you must stay in a suitable place:
- For a residence to be suitable for the implementation of the quarantine, it must be possible to avoid contact with others than those you usually live with.
- This means that accommodations where you have to interact with other guests are not suitable for quarantine. Staying in a motorhome, caravan, tent or cabin on camping sites are not accepted as an address for the implementation of the quarantine if you have to share a toilet, kitchen or other rooms/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 dormitories 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.
For "other close contacts" who shall be followed up for 10 days, the following apply:
- You should be tested twice, preferably on day 3 and 7 after exposure.
- You must wait until the first test is negative before you can go to school or work.
- You must be in quarantine in your leisure time until the second test is negative.
- Check daily for symptoms of respiratory tract infections or if you feel unwell
- You should inform your employer so the advice for infection control measures can be followed.
- You are a close contact, but do not need to go into quarantine ("other close contact")
Quarantine on arrival in Norway
Quarantine is also a requirement for people who have been travelling abroad. This is carried out in the same way as for close contacts, see above.
You can travel directly to the place of residence with a suitable means of transport. In cases where public transport must take place, it is recommended that travellers follow the applicable public transport advice, and they are encouraged, as far as possible, to avoid departures where it is not possible to keep at least one meter distance.
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.
Under some circumstances, employers can also give alternatives to quarantine for employees who have quarantine duty after arrival in Norway.
- §9 Exemption from duty of quarantine (Lovdata)
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.
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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.