Norway has announced a full reopening of society. Here's everything you need to know about the coronavirus in Norway.
It's hard to believe I've been keeping this page updated for almost 18 months now. When Norway's first peacetime nationwide lockdown was introduced in March 2020, I don't think many of us thought we would be in this position this far on.
I'm getting a lot of emails from people asking questions about COVID-19 in Norway. I don't have the capacity—or the authority, for that matter—to answer personal questions, so I've put together this page with everything I do know.
I'm trying to keep this page updated at least twice a week. However, this is a fast-moving situation, so do check the various links to official sources that I have included throughout the article for the very latest information.
The latest infection numbers in Norway
There have been 194,040 positive cases in Norway at the time of writing, with 871 people now confirmed dead. There are 105 people hospitalised around the country, of which 24 are in intensive care.
Around Norway: All of Norway's counties have recorded at least 3,000 positive test results. The most are in Viken (62,219), followed by Oslo (54,114), Vestland (15,301), Vestfold & Telemark (11,454) and Rogaland (10,516).
So far, Nordland (3,125), Troms og Finnmark (4,188) and Møre og Romsdal (4,281) have recorded the fewest positive test results.
The end of national restrictions in Norway
From 4pm on Saturday 25 September, all national restrictions will end in Norway. The announcement was made by prime minister Erna Solberg at a press conference on 24 September.
This includes the advice to keep at least one metre distance from others, the capacity limit on public and private and restrictions on opening times for bars and restaurants. “The short version is, we can now live as normal,” said prime minister Erna Solberg.
Local municipalities can still decide to keep and/or introduce local measures where necessary, such as face masks on public transport or recommendations on social distancing.
The latest on travel, border & quarantine restrictions
All residents of EU/EEA/Schenghen countries and the United Kingdom will be permitted to enter Norway for any reason from 25 September. This also applies to residents of so-called ‘purple countries.'
Purple countries are those outside the EU/EEA considered to have a satisfactorily low level of infection. At the present time, this list consists of New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan, but not Canada or the United States. Previous rules allowing visits from close family members do remain in place, of course.
However, the quarantine period will remain in place for travellers arriving from red or dark red countries, although the quarantine period can be undertaken in a private home. Fully-vaccinated travellers that can digitally prove vaccination using the EU digital certificate are exempt.
The government also announced the next phases of reopening the border.
I have now published an article all about the Norway travel restrictions to try and detail these in full.
I keep getting emails asking when the border will be back open for non-European tourists. Please understand that I have no more information other than what is written here and in the other article. Please don't ask me to guess.
Norway’s vaccination status
Approximately 8.03 million doses have been delivered to Norway to date. The vaccination program is finally accelerating during August following the purchase of a big amount of vaccines from elsewhere in Europe.
In Norway, both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being used.
As of 8 October, 7.87 million vaccine doses have been administered in Norway. 77.6% of the population have received at least one dose, with 68.46% now fully vaccinated.
Coronavirus in Norway: The story so far
The first coronavirus case in Norway was registered in a resident of Tromsø on 26 February.
The individual had recently returned from China. They were not seriously ill and were placed under home quarantine. Many of the early cases were then recorded in the Oslo region, including six employees of the eye department at Oslo’s Ullevaal Hospital.
In the early days of the outbreak in Norway, the majority of people who have tested positive were either infected abroad or are close contacts of someone who was. In most cases, the infected person had returned from an area of Europe with a major outbreak, such as northern Italy.
Read more: Healthcare in Norway
However, that soon changed and the proportion of infections passed on in Norway or with no known source increased rapidly.
Just a couple of weeks after the first known infection in Norway, the Norwegian government took drastic steps. They introduced the strictest emergency measures ever seen outside of wartime.
Previously, Norway's Directorate of Health said there were plans in place that would cover a scenario whereby up to 25% of Norway's population became infected. In this scenario, other hospital treatment would have to be postponed to enable hundreds of thousands of additional patients to be treated.
With the number of cases increasing rapidly, the government introduced emergency measures to try and stem the spread of the virus. All educational establishments were closed, along with many workplaces, many shops, bars, restaurants, pubs and other public services. Supermarkets and pharmacies were among the few businesses to remain open.
What to do if you experience symptoms
In Norway: Do not call 113. In the first instance, you can call a health information line on 815 55 015. If you believe you are infected, call your GP. Do not visit the doctor's office in person. Only if you cannot contact your GP, call the emergency room (legevakt) at 116 117.
The capacity for testing is now greatly increased. Many municipalities have started drop-in test centres with results typically available within 24-48 hours. However for those without their own transport, home testing is also an option. See the website of your local municipality or refer to your GP for more information.
Coronavirus around the world
The new virus was first discovered in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread around the world. According to figures from the World Health Organization, 239 million cases and 4,873,393 deaths have been reported so far.
The virus has hit hard in the USA, where more than 734,500 deaths have been reported. The UK (137,500) and Italy (131,000) are the hardest-hit countries in Europe. Brazil (601,000), India (450,500) and Mexico (282,000) are also badly hit.
What is coronavirus?
According to the WHO, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Coronaviruses are transmitted between animals and people, and there are several known types that have not yet infected humans. The current outbreak concerns COVID-19.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Standard precautions from the WHO include regular hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and thoroughly cooking all meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.