More people must go into hotel quarantine and entry restrictions to be extended.

Anyone undertaking unnecessary leisure travel abroad must stay at a quarantine hotel when they return to Norway. In addition, the current strict entry restrictions are being extended, which generally means that only foreigners residing in Norway will be allowed to enter the country, initially up until 7 April.

People travelling for leisure purposes must stay at a quarantine hotel at least until they receive a negative response to the test, taken no earlier than three days after their arrival. The municipalities will not be obliged to offer testing, and being tested on day 3 will not be a right.

“We are facing a demanding infection situation. The new virus variants are increasing the risks of becoming infected abroad and are making it easier to infect others when returning home. Consequently we are now changing the regulations so that anyone returning to Norway after undertaking unnecessary travel abroad must go into hotel quarantine,” says the Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security, Monica Mæland (H).

The reason for these changes is that the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have recommended delaying the introduction and spread of the more infectious virus variants as much as possible. They have also stressed that our strict entry restrictions on leisure travel should still be maintained. The main purpose of quarantine hotels is to ensure that quarantine is carried out in a suitable place so that we can avoid spreading any imported infections. This applies in particular to the import of mutated virus variants that it is now essential that we succeed in stopping. Quarantine at quarantine hotels provides better control by ensuring compliance with the requirements relating to entry quarantine.

Since 23 February 2021, anyone who is resident or has permanent residence in Norway has been exempt from the hotel quarantine requirement. The COVID-19 regulations are now being amended, and only people undertaking essential travel will be exempt. Work trips are regarded as being essential when the employer confirms that the journey in question is essential for work purposes.

“These rules are strict, and some people will react to the fact that quarantine cannot be carried out at home. Many people are missing their loved ones and family abroad, which is why it has been important for the Government to notify them about this as quickly as possible. The Prime Minister already notified the Storting about this on 9 March," says the Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security, Monica Mæland.

Some exemptions will apply on strong welfare grounds, such as being with underage children, the birth of one's own child, visiting dying or seriously ill close family relatives and attending the funeral of a close family member.

Today's amendments do not change who will need to go into quarantine. The quarantine period is still ten days and can be shortened after seven days if negative test results are produced. Other rules relating the hotel quarantine scheme will not be changed. The deductible is still NOK 500 per night for private individuals and NOK 250 for children between the ages of 10 and 18 staying in the same room as their parents.

These rules will apply with effect from the evening of Tuesday 16 March 2021.

The tighter entry restrictions introduced on 29 January 2021 will continue to apply until further notice, initially up until 7 April 2021. Strict entry rules will continue to apply, even after 7 April, but the Government will consider before Easter whether or not some groups will be permitted entry after this date.

We would also refer to the press release issued by the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services on 12 March 2021 entitled "How Easter can be spent".