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Social distance, quarantine and isolation

Published Updated

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.

Illustrasjon koronavirus

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 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. 

On 5 November, the Government recommended that everyone in the coming weeks must stay at home and limit social contact with other people as much as possible. This also means that in private homes, gardens or cabins, there should not be more than five guests in addition to household members.

If all the guests are from the same household, there can be more people. Two families can meet even if they have many children.

The restriction of not being more than five guests does not apply to childcare centre or primary school cohorts.

Adolescents and adults who have been with friends/ other situations where there has not been a metre distance should keep a distance of two metres from people in risk groups.

How much social distance?

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

2020-10-30 Karantenehus_engelsk_Korona-karantene.png

Advice for everyone

  • Follow good cough etiquette and good hand hygiene.
  • You and your closest circle can be together as normal. Your closest circle includes those you live with and boy/girlfriends. People who live alone can also have two-three close contacts who they can be physically close to. They should be the same people over time.
  • Keep 1 metre distance from others than your closest circle. 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. Avoid physical contact, including shaking hands and hugging.
  • If you have respiratory tract symptoms you should stay at home and you should be tested. 
  • If the test result is negative, you can go back to work, school or childcare centre when you are in good general condition, even though you still may have residual symptoms.

Waiting for test results

You have been tested because you have symptoms, and are not in quarantine

The main rule is that you shall stay at home until you receive your test results. 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 residual symptoms after the respiratory tract infection.

You have been tested because you have symptoms, and are in quarantine

If you experience typical symptoms of COVID-19 (acute respiratory tract infection with fever, cough, wheezing or loss of sense of smell or taste) while in quarantine, you are considered to have probable COVID-19 while you are waiting for test results. You must be in isolation while waiting for test results. It is also recommended that your household members be quarantined until it is clarified that you do not have COVID-19. If the test result is negative, the quarantine continues as planned.

You have been tested and you have no symptoms and have not been exposed to infection

If the test is taken without suspicion of COVID-19 (i.e. you have no symptoms, have not been to a country with high incidence or have not been directly exposed) it is not necessary to stay at home while waiting for a test result. 

See also:

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 or because you have been travelling to an area with widespread transmission during the last 10 days. Regardless of the reason, quarantine lasts for 10 days. Quarantine shall prevent further transmission. 

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.

  • Anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 infection, either as a close contact or after travel to a country or region with high incidence during the last 10 days should be tested. 
  • You can be in normal contact with children you live with, but keep a distance (over 1 metre) to other adults and 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 an acute respiratory tract infection with fever, cough, breathing difficulties or loss of sense of taste or smell while you are in quarantine, you are considered to have probable COVID-19. You should be tested as soon as possible and isolate yourself at home until the test results become available. If you have other household members, it is recommended that they are in quarantine until the test result is available. 

  • If you get a positive test result, isolation continues and full contact tracing will begin. With a negative test result, quarantine continues as planned, but quarantine ends for household members.  

When in quarantine you must stay in a suitable place:

  • The most common place to be in quarantine is at home. It should be possible to avoid contact with other adults in the household.

  • In order for a place of residence other than the home to be suitable, it must be possible to avoid contact with others than those you usually live with.
  • Student housing / halls of residence /shared houses can be suitable as a place to stay if this is the person's own home. Try to keep a distance to others and use common areas as little as possible. The Municipal Medical Officer can assess the suitability of the residence when the person is defined as a close contact.
  • Overnight accommodation where you need to 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.

  • Barracks may be suitable as a place to stay, provided that you have a private room with your own bathroom / toilet / kitchen, or have organised food delivery.

 

Adapted accommodation for people who must be in quarantine

Those who are to be quarantined are basically healthy, but have been in a situation where they may have been infected. This applies to close contacts with people with COVID-19 and people who have been travelling in an area with a lot of infection. These should be quarantined for 10 days to prevent them from infecting others before they develop symptoms.

It is most common is to carry out quarantine in your own home. However, there are situations where the quarantine cannot be carried out in the home and where arrangements should be made for another suitable place to stay during the quarantine period.

Municipalities can make arrangements for people who are to be quarantined to live in a suitable place of residence offered by the municipality during the quarantine period. Legal and financial conditions about such stays are provided by the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Implementation

Risk assessment

The place of residence that will host people who are in quarantine or are defined as close contacts must carry out a risk assessment of the facilities and adapt the conditions to ensure infection control. The risk assessment of the place of residence must include, among other things:

  • Which areas are suitable for those who are to be quarantined.
  • How current infection control measures are to be observed (distance requirements, hand hygiene / cough etiquette, ventilation in the room, food serving, handling of textiles and waste).
  • Plan for use of face masks for people in quarantine and protective equipment for employees.
  • Action plan if quarantined people or employees become ill with COVID-19.

The manager / employer at the place of residence must ensure that the employees are aware of the organisation and responsibilities associated with those who are in quarantine.

The municipal medical officer has the medical responsibility for those who are to be quarantined.

The municipal medical officer must, in collaboration with the place of residence, establish routines that protect employees against infection.

Distance requirements

Assess the need for marking in corridors and common areas and whether there is a need to hang up information material about distance requirements.

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene facilities must be available where people in quarantine spend time and possibly in other common areas.

Written information material should be prepared on when and how hand hygiene should be performed for people in quarantine and employees.

Protective equipment for employees

There is no routine need for the use of protective equipment.

The manager / employer should, however, carry out a risk assessment of the need for the use of protective equipment (face masks, gloves, overalls, visor) and have established routines for their use. Employees must have received training in how to use protective equipment and in which situations it is required.

Systems must also be established for the purchase and suitable storage of protective equipment.

Food service

Quarantined people must eat in their room and they must not use the common dining room or buffet service. The food should be served in the room by placing the serving tray on a table outside the room. Employees should knock and leave the door area.
In the room, written information must be provided that used serving trays should be placed outside the door after use. Employees shall transport the serving trays to areas where they are will be cleaned.

Laundry

Existing routines for handling used textiles should be reviewed, both with regard to internal routines and by agreement with external laundry services.

People in quarantine should change their bed linen and put dirty textiles in the collection bag found in the room. In the room, written information must be available about which textiles the person in quarantine can put in the bag (e.g. that private clothes cannot be put there) and that filled bags are tied and placed outside the door.

Employees shall transport the bags to the laundry or other storage place, separated from other objects until washing.

Waste management

Existing waste routines should be reviewed to ensure infection control.

People in quarantine should put rubbish in a rubbish bag found in the room. In the room, written information must be provided that filled rubbish bags are tied and placed outside the door.

Employees shall transport the bags to the appropriate waste containers.

Cleaning / disinfection of the room

Quarantined people should clean their own room with disposable cloths.

For the place of residence, it is sufficient to clean the room when the quarantine period ends. Follow existing cleaning routines, in addition to enhanced cleaning of common touch points.

People in quarantine

People in quarantine must receive information about infection control measures, including;

  • The need to keep your distance.
  • Hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
  • Regularly ventilate the room if possible.
  • Use a face mask if the employee must enter the room or when moving.
  • What to do if they get sick.

It should preferably be healthcare personnel from the municipality who follow up those who are in quarantine.

It is not recommended that employees enter the rooms of those who are in quarantine. If employees must enter the room, the person in quarantine must ventilate the room first, put on a face mask and keep their distance.

Employees must consider whether there is a need to use protective equipment if distance cannot be maintained.

The person who is in quarantine should not be with other people. Visits should be postponed until the infection status has been clarified. Information on how people in quarantine should behave can be found under Advice to those who are subject to quarantine (further up this page).

Routines if someone in quarantine or an employee becomes ill

The municipal medical officer, via the manager / employer at the place of residence, must have established routines for how both the person who is in quarantine and employees at the place of residence must respond if the person develops symptoms of COVID-19.

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 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:

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 probable or 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 2 metres, 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 2 metres. Children under 12-13 years of age are not recommended to wear a face mask. Children under 2 years of age should not use face masks under any circumstance.
  • 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. 

See also:

History

14.11.2020: Changed sentence in section about isolation: Children under 2 years of age should not use face masks under any circumstance.

11.11.2020: Added sentence about anyone who has been exposed to infection shall be tested. Removed point about being in quarantine in someone's home, according to updates about quarantine hotel.

06.11.2020: Added section about recommendations from government 05.11. Added section about adapted accommodation

04.11.2020: Updated sentence about definition of closest circle

02.11.2020: "Probable COVID-19" cases required to be in isolation in line with changes in the COVID-19 regulations, and household members are recommended to be in quarantine pending test results. "Suitable place for quarantine" has been revised, and it is recommended to keep your distance from other adults in the household. It is recommended that all close contacts be tested. Updated figure.

28.10.2020: Article is updated with link to news article about changes in exemptions from quarantine duty § 6 c for foreign employees that apply from 31 October (announced at press conference on 26 Oct). In paragraph about isolation, changed advice about distance to those you live with from one to two metres.

05.10.2020: Added sentence about using face masks during isolation.

25.09.2020: Updates to section about public transport.

22.09.2020: clarified sentence - even though they still have a few symptoms after the respiratory tract infection. Added "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." 

19.09.2020: Removed sentence about not being allowed to travel abroad.

15.09.2020: Added changes about exemptions from COVID-19 regulations according to changes in COVID-19 regulations

14.09.2020: Removed comment from 13.8.2020 that there is no longer a distinction between close contacts and other contacts. Changed paragraph about entry quarantine. 

04.09.2020: Added: "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 symptoms of respiratory tract infection."

31.08.2020: Added section about waiting for test results.

28.08.2020: Changed bullet point under advice for everyone that you should stay at home until you have a negative test result and your general condition is good.

24.08.2020: Changed sentence in isolation section "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."

21.08.2020 Added sentence "Isolation ends also in the cases where other people in the household are in isolation or quarantine"

18.08.2020 Added updated figure for "how much social distance?"

13.08.2020 Changed text because there is no longer a distinction between household members and other close contacts. Figure will be replaced as soon as possible.

10.08.2020 Added sentence about use of face masks on journey home in section about Quarantine upon arrival in Norway.

31.07.2020: In the section on entry quarantine: Information on travel to the final place of residence was added.

23.07.2020 The section on suitable places for quarantine has been edited with a sentence stating that quarantine can also be carried out in other people's homes.

21.07.2020 Added a new bullet point about place of quarantine where it is specified that a suitable recidence for quarantine means that you do not share toilet/kitchen facilities and other common areas with others than your close contacts. 

08.07.2020 Updated "How much social distance?" figure

04.07.2020: Updated bullet points. Under "For everyone" removed "A negative test does not shorten the time in quarantine or follow up." Under "for other close contacts" added "You should be tested twice, preferably on day 3 and 7 after exposure" and "You must be in quarantine in your leisure time until the second test is negative" and "You should inform your employer so the advice for infection control measures can be followed"

24.06.2020: Changed last two bullet points under "advice for everyone" about staying home until you are symptom-free and that if you have symptoms, you should stay at home until there is a negative test result and you are symptom-free.

22.06.2020: Emphasised that 10 day quarantine also applies to people in quarantine after arrival in Norway. People in quarantine after arrival shall follow the same advice as household members and equivalent contacts. 

17.06.2020:

Added "If you are sitting next to someone there should be 1 metre from shoulder to shoulder" to the "Advice to everyone" section.

12.06.2020:
Added "From 15th June, it will no longer be a requirement for 10 days quarantine upon arrival in Norway after travel to regions in the Nordic countries with low incidence" under the paragraph about Quarantine upon arrival in Norway.

04.06.2020:
Added text about what "your closest circle" means and about keeping distance under section about "advice to all". 

03.06.2020:
Updated text as per Norwegian version, new advice and rules for different groups of close contacts. Figure will be updated as soon as possible.

29.05.2020:
Added links to Government website about impending changes to quarantine and travelling to Denmark.

08.05.2020:
Changed quarantine days from 14 to 10 days, according to decision from Norwegian government 07.05.2020. Changed recommended distance to at least one metre.

05.05.2020:

"As a rule, home quarantine shall last for 14 days after the last contact with a patient with confirmed COVID-19" shortened to "As a rule, home quarantine shall last for 14 days"

17.03.2020

Changed last point under isolation to "Isolation lasts until 3 days after you have recovered and at least 8 days after you became ill." 

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Facts

Coronavirus

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.