Quarantine and isolation due to the coronavirus

Foto: Mostphotos/Michael Erhardsson

We should all maintain a greater distance to others than what we usually do, follow good cough etiquette and good hand hygiene and stay at home if we are ill. This is to avoid transmission of the virus.

Those who have a confirmed coronavirus infection must be in isolation. 

Those who are a close contact to someone with a confirmed coronavirus infection and anyone arriving from what is referred to as red areas within the Nordic region, EU/EEA/Schengen or countries outside of the EU/EEA/Schengen, must be in quarantine.

Quarantine

Your quarantine period is 10 days if you arrive in Norway after having visited a red area/country or have been in contact with a person with a confirmed coronavirus infection. If you are under quarantine duty and take a test that comes back negative, you still need to complete your 10 days quarantine period.

Quarantine after travelling abroad

If you have been on abroad travels to red areas within EU/EEA/Schengen or countries outside of the EU/EEA/Schengen, you must be in travel quarantine for 10 days from the day you arrived back home. Exceptions to quarantine rules apply if you arrive from travels to areas with a sufficiently low level of transmission (yellow areas). See a map of the relevant areas here (fhi.no).

You are not exempt from quarantine duty after traveling through a yellow area on your way back to Norway if less than 10 days have passed since you were in a red area. As an example: If you travel from a red area and spend two days in a yellow area before entering Norway, you still need to complete the remaining eight days of your travel quarantine duty.

Read more about travel advice and quarantine rules.

Quarantine after having been in close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19

Everyone who is a close contact to a person with a confirmed coronavirus infection must be in quarantine. If you are a close contact, you will be contacted in connection with contact tracing and informed as to what applies to you.

You are defined as a close contact if you, during the 48 hours prior to the person developing symptoms, have been either:

  • closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes
  • in direct physical contact
  • in direct contact with secretes (such as saliva).

If the person with a confirmed coronavirus infection does not develop any symptoms the same applies if less than 48 hours have passed prior to the positive test was taken.

How to implement the quarantine

Your 10 days quarantine period starts from the day you were in contact with the person with a confirmed coronavirus infection or the day you arrived in Norway. When you are in 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, school or kindergarten
  • take long domestic trips or travel abroad
  • use public transport
  • seek places where it is difficult to maintain a distance to other people

You should not seek out public places such as shops, pharmacies and cafes. If unavoidable, you can conduct necessary errands in the store or pharmacy but ensure that you 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.

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

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

Advice and information from The Norwegian Institute of Public Health:

* Not accepted as a suitable place of residence

Staying in a motorhome, caravan, tent or cabin at a camping site is not an acceptable address for implementation of quarantine duty if you share a toilet, kitchen or other rooms/facilities with people other than your close contacts/travel companions. The same applies to addresses where you share rooms/facilities with others than those you usually live with, such as a dormitory or other place of residence with a shared bathroom or kitchen.

Member of the same household as someone who is in quarantine

If you live with a person who is in quarantine, you should follow the advice given to the general population. 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 develop symptoms of COVID-19 while in quarantine

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 while in quarantine, you shall contact the local health services for testing. If the test result is negative, you must still stay at home for the rest of your quarantine period. If you have any symptoms you must stay at home and not go outside until you have recovered and are free of symptoms.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can be coughing, fever, breathing difficulties, reduced sense of smell and taste, headache, lethargy and muscle pain.

The use of public transport is in general not permitted

You are not allowed to travel by public transport during your time in quarantine. Those arriving in Norway can nevertheless travel by public transport from their place of arrival to the place where they will be in quarantine, and those leaving Norway prior to completing their quarantine duty period can travel by public transport to their place of departure. Persons in both these groups who are exempt should wear a face mask when traveling by public transport if they are above the age of 12 years old.  

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).

Exemptions from quarantine duty

As a rule of thumb, you will need to go into quarantine upon your arrival to Norway but with some exceptions. Some exceptions apply both during work and leisure time, while other exceptions apply only during work.

Even if you are exempt from quarantine duty, you should as far as possible avoid close contact with others than those you live with. As an example, you should maintain a safe distance to those you work with even if you are exempt from quarantine duty due to work.

The exemption from quarantine duty ceases to apply If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or a doctor suspects that you have a coronavirus infection.

Read more about the exceptions to the quarantine rules.

Isolation

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

If you are in home isolation the following applies:

  • Stay at home and do not go out, apart from in your own garden or balcony / porch / terrace.
  • Make arrangements for others to help out with your necessary errands.
  • Preferably keep a distance of at least one meter to others in your same household.
  • 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.

Where to implement the isolation

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

The municipality is responsible for making sure you have a suitable place to implement your isolation period. If the municipality considers that your isolation period should be implemented elsewhere, the municipality should offer alternative accommodation at a hotel or other suitable residence. The municipality may also decide for those who live with a person with a coronavirus infection to stay at another suitable place of residence. In both cases, the municipality must cover the cost.

Ending the isolation

You must 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.

Your isolation is ended also if others in your household are still in isolation or quarantine.

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

Members of the same household as someone who is in isolation

If you live with a person who is in isolation with a confirmed coronavirus infection, you must be in quarantine.

Duration of the quarantine for household members of a person in isolation

The duration of your quarantine period when you live with a person who is in isolation with a confirmed coronavirus infection will primarily depend on whether the person with COVID-19 displays any symptoms or not.

  • If the person in isolation shows symptoms of COVID-19 you need to be in quarantine until 10 days have passed since the last day the isolated person displayed any symptoms.

    If it is possible for the person in isolation to live separated from the rest of the household (separate bathroom, bedroom and living room), you should be in quarantine for 10 days after your last pint of contact with the person with COVID-19.

  • If the person in isolation does not show any symptoms of COVID-19 (asymptomatic) you need to be in quarantine for 10 days (the same time period as for the person who is in isolation with a confirmed coronavirus infection), irrespective of whether you live separated in the same household or not.

    If the person in isolation should develop symptoms during the time in isolation, this will affect the quarantine period for household members.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health also provides advice for people who are isolated at home due to the coronavirus.

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 andhelsenorge.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, fellow students 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 themselves can do. 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.