UPDATE 15 MARCH: Residents of Oslo can have no more than two house guests as the city introduces strict new coronavirus measures.
Norway's capital city has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, as the British variant threatens to get out of hand. Oslo is now subject to the strictest measures since the initial shutdown in March 2020.
The new measures, which come on top of previous ones still in effect, include a limit on house guests and a closure of schools for older children. Viken county is also subject to new restrictions. The full details are below.
Coronavirus in Oslo: The facts and figures
As of 15 March, the total number of infections registered in Oslo since the pandemic began is 23,121, out of the national total of 80,734.
157 deaths have been recorded in the city of Oslo since the start of the pandemic. The total in Norway is 640. There are however 119 people hospitalised in Oslo at the time of writing, which is the highest total since early April last year.
A serious situation
“There is no doubt that we are in a third wave of infection. It is different from the others because it is driven by mutated and much more infectious virus variants,” said city council leader Raymond Johansen.
Johansen also said that the new measures are based on the city's own assessments after input from the health authorities.
Read more: Facts about Oslo
“Overall, this will be the most intrusive measures in Oslo during the pandemic. It is tough, it is difficult and it is necessary,” said Johansen.
Oslo’s new measures, valid immediately
The new measures introduced in Oslo are as follows:
- A ban on more than two visitors in private homes
- Full digital education for the city's ungdomsskoler and videregåendeskoler
- Homeschooling for younger students in selected city districts
- Kindergartens must close during Easter week
Kndergartens and schools will return to red level on 6 April, while other measures apply until 9 April.
Johansen admitted that introducing homeschooling is one of the more intrusive measures that many will disagree with. He also said that putting restrictions on visits to private homes is strict.
“Life is unpredictable”
“It was unthinkable only a short time ago. At the same time, there is one thing this pandemic has taught us: life is unpredictable. Today we have decided to do what we believe is right to reduce the infection,” said Johansen.
The measures we have used to beat down previous peaks, which we have managed several times in Oslo, are not enough to beat down the infection.
Meanwhile, previous measures remain in place. This includes the closure of non-essential shops and a takeaway-only service for restaurants.
Previously, the Directorate of Health and FHI also recommend that people who are at high risk risk of becoming seriously ill or dying should they become infected, should keep an increased distance (preferably two meters) from everyone, and get someone to help with necessary purchases.
“If now everyone contributes to the effort over in the next few weeks, follows all the rules, meets as few people as possible, then we can together reduce the infection and help open up our society again,” said Johansen.
New measures also for Viken
Just hours after the Oslo announcement, new measures were introduced by the government for Viken county. Covering all 51 municipalities in Viken along with Gran i Innlandet, the measures are the strictest seen so far in the region.
All events outside the home are prohibited, with the exception of burial and funeral services. Non-essential shops must close. Restaurants must close although takeaway service is permitted. Alcohol cannot be served. Many other non-essential businesses such as gyms, swimming pools, libraries and museums must close.
8 thoughts on “Coronavirus in Oslo: Clampdown in Norway’s Capital”
Congratulations and job well done to mayor Raymond Johansen and Health minister Bent Høie.
It is refreshing and very encouraging to see leaders like this making decisions in the best interest of their people.
Citizens of Oslo, Bergen, and all of Norway should be grateful. I am writing from Texas where we had almost 10,000 new cases YESTERDAY ALONE. We’ve had nearly 20,000 deaths IN TEXAS ALONE!
Our leaders? Not so much.
God Bless Norway!
I see that the ENTIRE country of Norway has had 285 deaths.
JUST YESTERDAY the US had 1,126 deaths. JUST YESTERDAY.
You wonderful people in Norway have no idea how lucky you are to have the leadership you have.
What is the population difference (and population density difference) between Norway and the US??
The US has 2.4 times the population density of Norway (36/km2 vs. 15/km2), but 400 times the number of COVID-19 cases (10,210,000 vs. 25,524 as of Nov 10, 2020). The US has 66 times the population of Norway (328,000,000 vs. 5,000,000), but again, 400 times the number of cases.
Another Texan here. I agree Bob Helland. The mentality here is incomprehensible. Norwegian culture is much less egocentric. Corona Virus times give a whole new level of meaning to “Helt Texas!”
Right decision at the right moment so as to nip the bud.
Lockdown is really the only way to go. Here in Victoria, Australia, we’ve had very tough lockdowns twice and I’m very proud to say that (for now) we have all but eliminated covid 19 in our state. We know that the lockdowns were incredibly hard for many people, socially, emotionally and financially but we are now able to move relatively freely in our new ‘covid normal’ because of the lockdowns. I think we have been very fortunate here in Australia as our numbers, like Norway’s, have been relatively low- it’s very hard work keeping it that way but hang in there, it can be done.
Best lockdown advice; take an online course, FaceTime when you can and exercise as much as possible! Good luck and all the best- it really can be done!
My opinion is the low population (5 million) and location partly isolated from Europe made it easier to be excluded from the Coronavirus problem. Some good leadership but I don’t give them all the credit.