Infection control related to travel and vacation for COVID-19
General infection control advice for travel
The general infection control advice is;
- People who are sick should stay at home.
- Good hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
- Limit contact between people, keep at least 1 metre distance to those you do not live with or your closest circle of contacts.
The key measure for infection control is that people who are sick should stay at home. Cough etiquette and social distancing is crucial in order to limit droplet transmission. Reduced contact between people, by keeping distance and avoiding larger crowds, reduces the risk of transmission, also before the onset of symptoms. Hand hygiene, in particular avoiding touching your face with unclean hands, is important to avoid indirect contact transmission.
When planning your trip, make arrangements so you can follow the same advice when travelling as you do at home, as far as possible. It is good advice to plan trips to avoid transmission between places, e.g., by limiting travel that involves close contact with many people, perhaps at several locations.
For any journey, there may be local outbreaks of COVID-19, or an outbreak may arise while you are travelling. The pandemic is not over and there will continue to be transmission with varying intensity in most regions of the world.
Travel where you are mostly with your own family members, or others who you would already have been in contact with at home, poses less risk of transmission. Consider what you would do if you became sick and need to be isolated or go into quarantine. Remember travel insurance and check in advance whether it applies for where you will travel.
Advice about infection control for businesses that offer accommodation, dining, activities and equipment rental etc., has been prepared, see Advice for the travel and tourism industry for activities related to vacation and travel in Norway.
Advice for risk groups and their relatives
The current advice still applies to people in risk groups, see the article on risk groups. It explains who has a slight or higher increased risk.
When there is little transmission in society, people with a slightly increased risk can travel like others. For example, this means that grandparents can spend their holiday with their family. However, they should be extra careful to follow the general advice on infection control.
People with a higher risk, but where there is little transmission in society, need to make an individual assessment on whether you should travel or not, and with whom you can travel.
Conditions to consider:
- Travel duration
- Proximity to those you travel with, and with whom you are not normally in close contact, the number of people you travel with and whether it will be possible to have separate bedrooms and toilets during the journey.
- Is it easy to return home if someone should become ill?
- Access to healthcare services during the journey
In many cases, people in risk groups will be able to plan for trips with their children, grandchildren or others they are close to but who they do not usually spend time with, in a way where the risk of transmission can be reduced.
If the level of domestic transmission increases, people with a slightly increased risk should also consider whether or not to travel within Norway, while those at a higher risk of a more severe disease progression are discouraged from any travel under such situations. For more on this, see the article on Risk groups.
Swimming, beach life and outdoor activities in Norway
There is no risk of COVID-19 transmission via the water when bathing in fresh or sea water. However, it is important to have good hand hygiene and to keep a distance to anyone who is not in your closest contact circle. Try to find beaches or swimming areas with fewer people.
For outdoors activities such as camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding etc., the general advice for infection control applies. Furthermore, we should follow good outdoor etiquette. If possible, avoid going to the toilet in nature, do not litter and be extra careful with the use of fire.
Camping, farm holidays and other types of adventure holidays within Norway can be carried out as long as you follow the general measures for infection control.
Public transport in Norway
When travelling by public transport, many people are gathered and it can be difficult to keep sufficient distance to others. It is therefore recommended to limit the use of public transport. Remember that people who are in home quarantine after having been in close contact with someone who is infected should not travel by public transport.
Together with the transport sector, the health authorities have developed guidelines for public transport (in Norwegian) and aviation (in Norwegian) that are also relevant to vacation and leisure travels.
Quarantine for arrival in Norway from abroad
Anyone arriving in Norway from abroad shall be in home quarantine, with the exception of specified regions in the Nordic countries - see the map and table above. Quarantine lasts for 10 days.
The advice may change rapidly so travellers should follow news and travel information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Holiday and leisure travel in the Nordic countries
From 15th June 2020, exemptions from quarantine duty were introduced for travel in the Nordic countries, between areas with sufficiently low transmission. These areas are marked in green in the map below and will be updated every 14 days.
If you arrive in Norway from a "green" area, you are exempt from quarantine. If you arrive in Norway from a "red" area, you need to be in quarantine. The map applies to holiday and leisure travel.
Regions and criteria for the Nordic countries
|Varsinais-Suomi Hospital District, Southwest Finland|
|Satakunta Hospital District, Satakunta|
|Kanta-Häme Hospital District, Kanta-Häme|
|Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Pirkanmaa|
|Päijät-Häme Hospital District, Päijät-Häme|
|Kymenlaakso Hospital District, Kymenlaakso|
|South Karelia Hospital District, South Karelia|
|Etelä-Savo Hospital District, South Savo|
|Itä-Savo Hospital District, South/North Savo|
|North Karelia Hospital District, North Karelia|
|Pohjois-Savo Hospital District, North Savo|
|Central Finland Hospital District, Central Finland|
|South Ostrobothnia Hospital District, South Ostrobothnia|
|Vaasa Hospital District, Ostrobothnia|
|Central Ostrobothnia Hospital District, Central Ostrobothnia|
|North Ostrobothnia Hospital District, North Ostrobothnia|
|Kainuu Hospital District, Kainuu|
|Länsi-Pohja Hospital District, Lappi|
|Lappi Hospital District, Lappi|
|Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District, Uusimaa|
Criteria for evaluating which regions in the Nordic countries have sufficiently low incidence that entry is allowed without quarantine duty upon arrival
- Incidence rate during last 14 days (average last two weeks) <20/100 000 per week
- Admissions to intensive care during last 14 days (average last two weeks) (< 0.5/100 000)
- Number of positive tests during last 14 days < 5%
- Anyone with suspected COVID-19, regardless of severity, is encouraged to be tested
- There is a system for contact tracing around all confirmed cases
- Information material is available for travellers
An overall assessment of the criteria shall be made, and further information may be considered in the assessments. Regular meetings are held between the public health institutes in the Nordic countries to discuss developments.
Leisure travel to EU and EEA countries
From the 15th July 2020, the Government will issue new travel advice for entry into Norway from some European countries. The advice will be based on the transmission situation in each country.
The transmission situation in Europe is changing rapidly. You should follow the website for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to stay updated about the quarantine regulations when you return to Norway and to check which rules apply in the country you are travelling to. The NIPH will publish the map on this website.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)
- World Health Organization, WHO
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, ECDC
- Center for Disease Prevention and Control, CDC (USA)
Exemption from quarantine duty
Work travel in the Nordic countries
There are some exemptions to quarantine duty. According to the COVID-19 regulations (Lovdata.no), people who, as part of their working conditions must cross a border to travel from residence to workplace between Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands are exempt from quarantine when commuting to and from work.
The exemption from quarantine duty does not apply for people who are in transit from countries not mentioned here.
Work travel from the Schengen area and EEA countries
From 22nd June 2020, the COVID-19 regulations allows for an employer or contractor to choose to organise for testing and infection control measures as an alternative to quarantine duty for people who arrive in Norway from Schengen or EEA countries to work.
Two tests are required upon arrival in Norway, with a minimum gap of 48 hours. The second test can be taken on day 5 after arrival in Norway, at the earliest. Until the first negative test results are available, the person is still in quarantine. Until the second negative test result is available, the person is still in quarantine during their leisure time.
If the employer or contractor chooses this solution, they are responsible for arranging and paying for the tests.
If this is not feasible, the requirement for quarantine of 10 days upon arrival in Norway applies.
General advice before travel (if you must travel)
Check what is covered by your travel insurance, including what applies if you become ill during your journey.
Each country may introduce measures and restrictions to prevent further transmission, e.g. transport restrictions, quarantine or other measures that can have consequences for travellers. Several countries and airports have introduced control measures and closed borders to people not resident in the country. Travellers should be prepared to answer questions about their health and might be denied entry or be placed in quarantine.
Consider the following before travel:
- Risk of being infected while travelling (destination, duration, contact with other people)
- Risk of travel restrictions, curfews, quarantine or other measures in the country you are travelling to
- Risk of capacity problems in the healthcare service at the destination if you become ill
- Risk of lack of possibilities for return travel or medical repatriation
- Risk of home quarantine in Norway on your return.
- Risk of not being able to work during the first 10 days after travel (applies to healthcare personnel in particular, but other employees may also have rules about this).
Follow the general travel advice for vaccines for other infectious diseases and other preventative measures.
General advice during travel (if you must travel)
- Thorough hand washing with soap and water is an important preventative measure to prevent further transmission. Alcohol-based hand disinfection may be an alternative if hand-washing facilities are unavailable.
- Avoid contact with sick people, especially those with symptoms of respiratory tract infection.
- Avoid coughing on others, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid travelling if you are ill.
Students and other people who are staying in areas with widespread transmission over a longer period should follow the advice from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, local health authorities and educational institutions/employers.
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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.