Information regarding the coronavirus outbreak

10 March 2020

BI understands that many may have concerns related to the outbreak of the coronavirus. BI is following the FHI and UD. We urge students and employees to do the same.

BI’s campuses are open and the community is encouraged to continue day-to-day activities as normal whilst treating each other with mutual respect at all times. BI has organised a task force to offer advice and support if students or employees have questions, are recommended a form of quarantine by healthcare personnel or are infected with the virus. The task force has also set forth preventive actions for hygiene and cleaning at BI’s campuses in Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim. Students and staff are encouraged to avoid shaking hands. 

BI encourages all students to follow advice from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health regarding preventing infection. Students, employees and guests who have recently travelled abroad are encouraged to adhere to recommended routines. If the development of the virus leads to consequences for lectures or exams, BI will inform affected students directly via e-mail.  Students that have modules abroad as a part of their course will receive information via e-mail.

Information about the virus

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has updated thorough information to the public about novel coronavirus COVID-19. You will find information regarding:

  • How to prevent infection
  • Habits to prevent transmission
  • How are respiratory infections transmitted?
  • Advice for people who have been in areas with ongoing transmission
  • Information about quarantine recommendations
  • Facts about the coronavirus: transmission

Is it safe to be at our campuses?

Yes. All of BI’s campuses are open and we encourage everyone to continue their day-to-day activities as normal. If the situation were to change, BI will inform affected students directly via e-mail. It is essential that you feel secure and supported as a student at BI. If the need to close campus for a period of time arise, BI is prepared to offer alternative teaching. 


All BI campuses are open and examinations will take place as planned.

If you will not be able to take your exam because you have been placed under quarantine you must follow the requirements regarding illness.

It is important that you provide documentation to BI that you are under quarantine and who has ordered you to stay in quarantine. Alternatively, the reason why you have been placed in quarantine.

If you are sick the rules concerning illness will apply.

It is recommended to follow the routines of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

What measures are BI taking?

BI is monitoring the situation closely and follow advice from the WHO and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, we have also implemented measures at all BI campuses. Including posters with information on how to prevent infection, continuous refill of antibacterial dispensers and increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs and elevators.

Are there any confirmed infections at BI?

No. There are no cases where BI students or employees have been infected. 

BI kindly asks  students who are infected or quarantined to register here.

What we do if a case of COVID-19 (student or staff) is confirmed

  • BI will be contacted by the local medical officer (bydelsoverlege/kommuneoverlege) to discuss the case, identify people who have been in close contact with the infected person and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.
  • The medical officer, the Norwegian Health Authorities and BI will assess risk based on the situation and decide further measures. In most cases, closure of our campuses will not be necessary, but this will be a local decision based on the facts.
  • Advice to students and staff will be based on this assessment.
  • The local medical officer (kommuneoverlegen) will contact the patient to advise on isolation and to identify other contacts. The local medical officer will follow up contacts of the patient to provide them with appropriate advice.
  • Advice on cleaning of our facilities will be given by the local medical officer.

What we do if students or staff are contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19

The definition of a contact includes:

  • Any student or staff member in close face-to-face or touching contact including those undertaking small group work or meetings (within 2 metres of the case for more than 15 minutes)
  • Colloquial groups
  • Student or staff members living in the same household as a confirmed case, or equivalent setting such as student accommodation

If a confirmed case occurs at BI, the local medical officer (kommuneoverlegen) will provide advice and will work together with BI’s task force. Outside those that are defined as close contacts, the rest of the school does not need to take any precautions or make any changes to their own activities or work as usual, unless they become unwell. If they feel unwell, they will be assessed as a suspected case depending on their symptoms. The decision as to whether students and staff fall into this contact group will be made between the local medical officer, BI and the student or staff.

Advice should be given as follows:

  • If they become unwell with cough, fever or shortness of breath they will be asked to self-isolate and should seek medical advice from the local doctor (fastlege).
  • If they are unwell at any time within the 14 days of contact and they are tested positive for COVID-19 they will become a confirmed case and will be treated as such.

Have you been travelling?

People who have been in areas of persistent spread within the last 14 days shall be quarantined for 14 days after returning to Norway. They are asked to be on the lookout for signs of respiratory infection (fever, cough and other respiratory symptoms) and should contact the health service by telephone if they experience symptoms. 

Travel advice

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health advises against travel to the Hubei province (including Wuhan city) due to widespread transmission in this province. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advices against unnecessary travel to mainland China due to the effect of the virus outbreak on society in China in general. Travellers should stay updated about the Ministry's travel information and daily news because the situation may change rapidly.

From 3rd March 2020, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is advising against travel to Iran, South Korea, and the Italian regions of Lombardia, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Piemonte due to widespread transmission in these areas. This advice is intended to reduce the risk of people living in Norway being infected by coronavirus, or bringing it to Norway.

For long-term stays, follow the advice of local health authorities (information published on the National Institute of Public Health’s webpage on Tuesday 28 January 2020) and the World Health Organization.

Travelers are encouraged to register on www.reiseregistrering.no in case of important updates from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

BI advises employees to avoid any trips to severely affected areas unless strictly necessary. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs continuously updates their travel recommendations here. Employees who consider travelling to these regions, must assess the necessity of the trip and get approval from their manager.

Employees are encouraged to consider the need to travel (in general) against the risk of how new travel restrictions could make going to or from a country problematic. In general, BI encourages everyone to follow the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel advice.

Students abroad

BI currently has a total number of 103 exchange students in Australia, Asia, Europe, South Africa and North America. The students safety is BI's highest priority. They have all been informed to follow the advice from their host institution in case of an outbreak. 

Students in affected areas
At the start of this semester, BI had 12 exchange students in China. Since then, nine have returned to Norway to finish their studies, while three are staying in China at their own responsibility.

BI also has 11 students on exchange at partner universities in Milan (University of Bocconi and University of Bologna). The students are now following lectures online.

For additional support, we have also put all students in contact with ANSA (Associations for Norwegian Students Abroad) and the Norwegian Church Abroad (Sjømannskirken).

Study trips/Executive modules abroad 
BI has several Executive programmes with scheduled modules abroad this semester. Currently, only the modules in China have been postponed. Study trips to other countries are currently under consideration. More information regarding this will follow as soon as any decisions have been made. Information regarding any changes in scheduled modules abroad will be communicated directly to the students.

Measures in case BI campuses must close 
With regards to a potential need to close the school for teaching and exams, BI will first and foremost follow the advice from the Norwegian authorities. BI is currently preparing contingency plans.

Distance learning alternatives 
BI is exploring the possibility to prepare for distance learning activities, such as videos, streaming, notes and supplementary readings and other tools deemed suitable by the faculty.

Information in English from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health ‒ facts, travel advice and measures.

Contact information:

Students on exchange and next of kin:
Contact international.office@bi.no

Students that are concerned and need someone to talk to:
Contact counselling@bi.no

Contact hr@bi.no

Media Contacts:
Ole Petter Syrrist-Leite: ole.p.syrrist-leite@bi.no and Henrik Stølen: henrik.stolen@bi.no.

You can also see all news here.