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Advice for infection control related to travel and vacation

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The infection situation is constantly evolving, both locally and globally. The travel advice will be update as new information becomes available. It is important to familiarise yourself with the current infection control advice for the area you want to travel to. The advice presented here is valid from 15th May 2020 until further notice.

Foto: Colourbox.com
Foto: Colourbox.com

The infection situation is constantly evolving, both locally and globally. The travel advice will be update as new information becomes available. It is important to familiarise yourself with the current infection control advice for the area you want to travel to. The advice presented here is valid from 15th May 2020 until further notice.

Domestic leisure travel

After several weeks of comprehensive measures, the current level of COVID-19 transmission in society is low and the advice about leisure travel is eased. The general advice on reducing domestic leisure travel is now eased, and you can travel provided that you travel in such a way that prevents you from spreading the infection and limit the risk of yourself being infected.

This article describes how to travel in a way that will avoid spreading the infection. Travel advice is also given to those at risk of a severe COVID-19 disease, along with advice on how families can travel together across generations.

The general principles for infection control apply both when travelling and at home;

  1. People who are sick should stay at home.
  2. Good hand hygiene and cough etiquette. 
  3. Limit contact between people, keep at least 1 metre distance to those you do not live with.

Many measures have been implemented in all parts of society, which together limit transmission. With the increased freedom of movement, it is especially important to remember that everyone has an individual responsibility to contribute to good infection control.

The key measure for infection control is that people who are sick should stay at home. Good 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 symptoms of COVID-19 develop.  Hand hygiene, in particular avoiding touching your face with hands that might be contaminated, 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.

Travelling to a location 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.

Advice about infection control for businesses that offer accommodation, dining, activities and equipment rental etc., have been prepared, see Advice for the travel and tourism industry for activities related to vacation and travel in Norway  (in Norwegian).

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 is low and you have only a slightly increased risk, you can basically travel like others, while taking extra care to follow the general advice on infection control. For example, this may mean that grandparents can spend their vacation with their family.

For people with a higher risk but where there is little transmission in society, as now, you need to make an individual assessment on whether you should travel or not, and with whom you can travel.

Conditions to be considered:

  • 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.
  • Whether it is 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 transmission in society increases, people with a slightly increased risk should also consider whether or not to travel, while those at a higher risk of a more severe disease progression are discouraged from travelling under such situations.  

For more on this, see the article on Risk groups.

Swimming, beach life and outdoor activities

Water park and swimming pools are presently closed. New advice will be made available if and when these re-open. There is no risk of COVID-19 transmission via the water when bathing in fresh or sea water. However, it is important to remember the general advice on hygiene and social distancing. 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 can be carried out as long as you follow the general measures for infection control.

Public transport

When travelling by public transport, people often gather in crowds 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.

The health authorities have, in collaboration with the transport sector, developed guidelines for public transport (in Norwegian) and aviation (in Norwegian) that are also relevant to vacation and leisure travels.

International travel

Avoid non-essential international travel

From 14th March 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advising against non-essential travel to all countries. Travellers should follow news and travel information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the advice may be updated rapidly. 

On 29th May 2020, the government decided to allow travel to and from Denmark from the 15th June 2020: 

Quarantine for people arriving in Norway from abroad

From 13th March 2020, anyone arriving in Norway from abroad shall be in home quarantine. The duration of quarantine is 10 days.

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.

The regulations for quarantine will change from the 1st June. The Government will open for similar quarantine rules for work travel between the Nordic countries: 

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).

Travellers belonging to risk groups should be vaccinated against seasonal influenza within 14 days before departure, as there are outbreaks of seasonal influenza in several countries. Follow the general travel advice for vaccines for other infectious diseases and other preventative measures.

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.

Further information:

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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.