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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.
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.
- Coronavirus and infection control measures (regulations - Lovdata)
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. 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.
- When you suspect that you have COVID-19 disease
- Hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleaning and laundry
- Face mask use in the general public
- 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Changes in exemption from quarantine duty § 6 c for foreign workers
- Rules about quarantine and exemptions from quarantine duty upon arrival in Norway (Directorate of Health)
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.
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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.