General advice, in quarantine or isolation

Foto: Mostphotos/Michael Erhardsson

What recommendations apply to me?

We should all maintain a greater distance to others than what we usually do. This is to avoid transmission of the virus. Those who have a confirmed coronavirus infection must be in isolation.

Those who live in the same household as someone who is infected, or has nursed someone who has fallen ill without the use of recommended infection control equipment, should be in quarantine.

Others who have been in close contact (two metres or closer for 15 minutes or more) with a person with a confirmed infection within 48 hours prior to their symptoms appearing do not need to be in quarantine. They should however be followed up for 10 days with testing and advice. Twice daily (morning and evening) you should monitor whether you develop symptoms such as fever, coughing or breathing difficulties. You should also contact the health services in order to be tested after three days or as soon as possible, followed by a second test 2–3 days after the first test.

We need to be extra attentive and follow the recommendations for infection control, for instance those mentioned here (in Norwegian). Wash your hands, maintain a distance to others, and stay at home if you are ill.

Advice for the population in general

We should all maintain a greater distance to others than what we usually do. When we meet socially, we should not be more than 20 persons in a group and maintain a distance of at least one metre to others (face-to-face distance is most important – while standing back-to-back or in a line will represent a lower risk of transmission). It does not apply to people who live in the same household or those who are closest to you. It is up to you to define who "your closest" are,
but they should not be too many, and they should remain the same persons over time.

It is important to continue to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. This includes washing your hands prior to leaving home, as soon as you get home and prior to eating. Try to avoid touching your face.

You and those closest to you, can associate as you normally do. This includes children of divorced parents. You should refrain from shaking hands, kissing and hugging those that are not part of your own household.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory infection, you should stay at home until you are recovered and without symptoms. Members of the same household can still go outside but must be attentive to their own symptoms. This also applies to healthcare personnel.

Why should everyone who experiences symptoms of a respiratory infection stay at home until all symptoms are gone?

With more acquired knowledge about covid-19, it is increasingly clear that transmission most often occurs just when you turn ill and at the beginning of the course of the disease. There are clear indications that the risk of transmission is relatively high one to two days before the onset of symptoms.

The findings also indicate that we quickly become less contagious when the symptoms are gone. Anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory infection or a fever should therefore, as a general advice, stay home until the symptoms are gone.

Who should be in quarantine?

There are two groups that should be in quarantine:

1. After travelling abroad (travel quarantine)

If you have been abroad, you must stay in travel quarantine for 10 days from the day you returned home. Exceptions to quarantine rules apply if you arrive from areas in the Nordic region with a low level of transmission. See a map of the relevant areas (fhi.no).

Read more about travel advice and quarantine rules.

2. After close contact with a person with covid-19 (transmission quarantine) according to specific criteria

Not all close contacts now need to be in quarantine. A distinction is made between "members of the same household and equal" who should be in quarantine and "other close contacts" that do not need to be in quarantine as long as they undergo testing and pay close attention to their own symptoms. You will be notified as to what applies to you.

Infection risk is closely related to the amount and degree of physical proximity. It is also relevant whether the infected person coughs or sneezes a lot, whether people share the same small volumes of indoor air, and whether contact occurs during the most infectious period at onset and early phase of the disease.

You should be in quarantine if you:

  • Live with a person with confirmed covid-19
  • Are in close contact equal to a member of the household (such as a boyfriend/girlfriend, a close colleague in a shared office space, someone in the same cohort in kindergarten or levels 1st through 4th of primary school, someone you spent time with during a contagious period like a stay at a holiday property or close physical contact)
  • Nursed someone who has fallen ill without the use of recommended infection control equipment

If any of the above criteria applies to you, you must stay in home quarantine for a minimum of 10 days from the day of contact.

Testing instead of quarantine (applies to "other close contacts")

Others who have been in close contact with a person with a confirmed infection within 48 hours prior to their symptoms appearing do not need to be in quarantine but must pay close attention to their own symptoms. Close contact means more than 15 minutes with a distance of less than 2 meters indoors or face-to-face outdoors, or having been in physical contact, for example a handshake without using recommended protection. You should also contact the health services in order to be tested after three days or as soon as possible, followed by a second test two-to-three days after the first test.

If you live with a person who is in isolation with a detected coronavirus infection, you must be in quarantine until the person is no longer in isolation, for at least eight days after the quarantine started.

If you live with a person who is in quarantine, you should follow the advice given to the general population. Maintain a distance of at least one metre to those you do not live with, practise good hand hygiene and stay at home if you are ill. Should a member of your household develop symptoms while in quarantine the recommendation from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is that you also stay at home in quarantine.

If you are tested for coronavirus while in quarantine and the test comes back negative, you must still complete the quarantine period of 10 days.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) are updating information on testing for coronavirus (in Norwegian).

See information letter from NIPH: You are a close contact, but do not need to go into quarantine ("other close contact").

Exemption from quarantine duty

Employers may give exceptions to the quarantine rules regarding people who are deemed essential for maintaining functions critical for health and safety. Such functions may include

  • on-duty personnel in the healthcare services
  • police, fire and rescue services
  • top management of critical social functions

The exception does not apply in leisure time, only when at work or traveling to and from work with anything other than public transport. They should, as far as possible, avoid close contact with other persons.

Who should be in home isolation?

You must be in isolation if you have a confirmed coronavirus infection.

In addition, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends you go into isolation if you develop a fever or symptoms of a respiratory infection while in quarantine. This applies even if you are not tested, when you are in quarantine due to having been in close contact with a person with a confirmed coronavirus infection. You are then defined as likely being infected by covid-19 (in Norwegian).

You will be in isolation in your home, in a health institution or somewhere else if required.

Persons who have had covid-19 are predominantly likely to be protected against a recurrence of the disease, but it is not yet known for how long this protection will last.

It has therefore been decided that those who have had a confirmed (laboratory tested) covid-19 infection within the last six months are exempted from quarantine. Anyone showing symptoms of an acute respiratory infection shall – like everyone – stay at home for an additional 24 hours after being free of symptoms.

Ending the isolation

You should be completely free of symptoms in order to end the isolation. You need to be free of symptoms for 72 hours with a period of at least eight days having passed since the first symptoms appeared. For persons in hospital or who undergo immunosuppressant treatment the requirement for isolation may be longer.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health provides advice on isolation and how long you should be in isolation (in Norwegian).

What can I do and not do?

Restrictions for the population in general

As previously mentioned, we should all maintain a greater distance to others than what we usually do, at least one metre to people with whom you do not live with in the same household. You can use public transport, as long as you keep a distance to your fellow passengers.

If possible, you should work from home. If you are unable to work from home, keep a distance of at least one metre to your colleagues. The same general advice on good hand and cough hygiene, social distancing and number of people in the group applies to the workplace as well. It is important that you stay at home should you develop symptoms of a respiratory infection. Should you turn ill while at work, go home as soon as possible. Avoid using public transport. Read more about home office and workplaces here (Helsedirektoratet) (in Norwegian).

Based on the improved infection situation, leisure travels in Norway can now be done, provided that you travel in a way that will prevent you from spreading the infection. This means that the advice on limiting leisure travels in Norway is now eased. You can read more about the travel advice here.

Visits and social gatherings should be limited to 20 persons at a time and we should all be able to maintain a distance of at least one metre to each other.  If you receive visitors, try to limit the number of people you are in close contact with.

Children should preferably be with the children in their own cohort (group) in kindergarten or at school. Avoid playing with many additional children outside of the child's cohort in kindergarten or at school.

If you belong to a high-risk group, these precautions are extra important to you. Read more about the advice for persons in risk groups here.

Finally, take care of each other and avoid stigma and exclusion. Think about whether someone might need an additional phone call during this time. This is the time to be extra considerate to others.

Restrictions that apply to quarantine

After travelling abroad (travel quarantine)

If you are in travel quarantine, you should stay at home or in another suitable place of residence. You can only stay outside your home or place of residence if you can avoid close contact with anyone other than those you normally live with.

Close contact refers to being two metres or closer to others for 15 minutes or more, being in direct physical contact or in direct contact with secretes such as saliva, sweat, snot, mucus and tears from other persons. You should not go to work while in travel quarantine, but you can work from home.

For all close contacts

Certain recommendations apply to all close contacts. You should avoid crowds and keep a distance to others than those who live in your own household. Stay at home if you develop symptoms of a respiratory infection. You should also be tested.

After close contact with a person with covid-19 (transmission quarantine)

If you are in transmission quarantine, you should stay at home or in another suitable place of residence. You can only stay outside your home or place of residence if you can avoid close contact with anyone other than those you normally live with.

Persons in transmission quarantine cannot:

  • go to work or school
  • take long domestic trips or travel abroad
  • use public transport
  • seek places where it is difficult to maintain a distance from other people

You should not go to a holiday property while in quarantine. The only exception is if you yourself show no symptoms and going to the holiday property is the only way to avoid close contact with a member of the family who has covid-19.

You should avoid places where it is difficult to keep a distance to others, and you should not, as a general rule, seek out public places such as shops, pharmacies and cafes. If unavoidable, you can conduct necessary errands in the store or pharmacy, but you should maintain a minimum of one metre distance to others and avoid queuing.

You can go for a walk but keep a good distance to others.

It is important that you pay close attention to whether you develop symptoms. In case of fever or respiratory symptoms, stay at home and avoid contact with others.

Children who are in quarantine cannot meet other playmates than those who are part of the same household.

The key point is not to infect others prior to possibly developing symptoms yourself.

For those defined as "other close contacts" the following applies:

  • You can go to school or to work.
  • Monitor daily for symptoms of a respiratory infection or whether you feel sick.
  • You should be tested after three days or as soon as possible, followed by a second test two-to-three days after the first test.
  • If you are a health professional and work in patient care you should inform your employer and together evaluate whether you can go to work.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has issued advice for people in home quarantine (in Norwegian).

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has translated information to people who must stay at home, to 26 different languages.

Restrictions that apply to home isolation

If you have a confirmed coronavirus infection, you must be in isolation.

This means that you must stay at home and not go out. You should preferably maintain a distance of at least one metre to those you live with, stay in separate rooms and use separate bathrooms if possible. Use your own toiletries, including your own towel.

Take extra care to maintain good hand and cough hygiene to avoid infecting others in the household. Frequent cleaning of the home is also important, especially surfaces that are often touched.

Those you live with should be in quarantine.

Isolation lasts until you have been completely free of symptoms for 72 hours or eight days after you first developed symptoms, whichever happens last.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has information on the criteria for ending the isolation.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has issued advice for people who are isolated in the home by coronavirus (in Norwegian).

Will I receive sickness benefits if I must stay at home?

You are entitled to sick leave if a doctor recommends you stay at home because you are infected, might be infected or are quarantined. Self-notification must always be considered before sick leave.

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) can approve sick leave without personal examination in the case of an infectious disease of significance to public health. More information is available on NAV's webpages(in Norwegian).

Stress-reducing measures during home quarantine and isolation

​Being confined to home quarantine or isolation can be stressful and can often lead to a sense of worry, tenseness, irritability, restlessness and concentration difficulties. Many people feel sad, lonely or have trouble sleeping. Most people will however handle a period of home quarantine or home isolation quite well, with only transitory psychosocial effects.

During a period of home quarantine or isolation, daily routines and family life take a different turn. You cannot go to work, school or kindergarten and we cannot socialise in the same way as we are used to. This can often lead to less physical activity, irregular meals, and a possible decrease or increase in the amount of sleep. Most people will spend more time in front of a screen.

Positive measures for those affected

Stay updated with the news – but not too much

There is a steady stream of important information and useful advice. Too much focus on news-updates can trigger concern and worry. If you want to stay updated, you should turn to reliable sources such as the websites of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and helsenorge.no.

Structure your day

Creating new routines at home is important. Try to stick to a normal sleep pattern. For many, school and working from home will help bring structure, meaning and a sense of security in their everyday life. Find good ways to structure and manage your job situation while working from home. Keeping up your hobbies can also be a good way to stay active.

Get your daily dose of physical activity and daylight

Life during an indoor quarantine can easily turn sedentary. Physical activity, enjoying nature and getting your daily dose of daylight have a positive effect on both mental health and sleep patterns. For out-door activities, keep distance, and follow recommendations from the health authorities.

Maintain social interactions

While in home quarantine or isolation, you can stay in touch via social media or over the phone. Setting up regular appointments to communicate with family, friends and colleagues can be a good thing.

Positive measures for children, youth and families in home quarantine or isolation

Young people can experience a range of reactions while being confined to home quarantine or isolation. Some can feel stressed out, sad, angry or annoyed, while others seem not to experience any negative emotions related to the situation. Some can observe stomach-ache, headache or other bodily sensations and might wonder whether they are ill.

They can also be concerned for the health of parents or siblings. All these emotions are totally normal. And for most, these reactions will be transitory. Yet the situation can be a challenge for a family with their daily routines impacted.

There are many activities that can be of help for families with children in this situation:

Talk to the children

Children need intelligible information as to why they are confined to home quarantine or isolation, and what they can do themselves. It is important the children learn that their efforts will help reduce the risk of others being infected. Ask if they have any questions and give them clear answers. Remember that children pick up on more than you think. Children can also have a sense of guilt in the situation or be very afraid. Do not wait for them to approach you with their questions. Ask them what information or news they have heard and respond to their query.

Soundness is contagious

When you are secure, the children feel secure. When children are afraid, they need comfort and care. Take some deep breaths and find your inner strength. Build a sense of safety by recognising their emotions and help them handle all their emotions. Children might need adults to display extra patience in this situation.

Stick to your routines

Keeping a daily rhythm with structured activities is beneficial. This includes getting up and going to bed at the usual time, being physically active and doing homework. Healthy, regular meals, sleep and physical activity will reduce the level of stress in a young person as well as in adults. Bedtime routines can be affected when children are afraid and/or ill. Stick to your regular bedtime routines. Avoid letting children spend too much time alone with their phone or tablet, and preferably put these down one hour ahead of bedtime. Children might often wake up during the night and come to their parents, this is quite normal and will pass.

Social contact

Stay in touch with friends and family via social media or over the phone. This is both supportive and encouraging and relieves stress.

Do what work for you

Do stuff that you and your family enjoy - like watching a film, read books, listen to music or audiobooks. Family time can be positive, yet we should also respect a child's need for spending time alone.