28 February: Oslo City Government introduces stricter coronavirus restrictions

Press release: This week, the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Oslo was on a par with the first week in January. Today, therefore, the City Government has decided to introduce stricter infection prevention measures, and strongly recommends people to avoid social contact in the coming days and weeks.

“The increase in the level of infection that we are now seeing is the result of the importation of mutated variants of the coronavirus. Because the new variants spread more rapidly than previous ones, we must tighten up our infection prevention measures, in line with the national health authorities’ recommendations. The people of Oslo have behaved extremely responsibly for a long time, but we must now ask them to do even more,” says Oslo’s Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen (Labour Party).

These are the new measures:

  • All pubs, cafés and restaurants must remain closed, except for take-away service.
  • All shops must remain closed, apart from those on the national list of exempt retail outlets, such as food stores, pharmacies and Vinmonopol shops.   
  • Galleries and art shops must remain closed.
  • Organised outdoor leisure activities for adults over the age of 20 are discouraged. 
  • Outdoor events are prohibited, with the same exceptions as for indoor events, i.e. funeral and burial services, weddings, christenings and similar rituals, sports events, competitions and performances by professional participants without spectators, and digital events attended by no more than five people in addition to necessary production staff.
  • The red risk level is maintained for adult education. High schools go over to a red risk level from Monday, 1 March. No students are to go to school on Monday or Tuesday. Students will receive digital lessons or be given time off. With effect from Wednesday, all high schools will provide a combination of in-person tuition and digital lessons. The City Government aims to introduced the mass testing of students (saliva tests) from 8 March, and increased testing of all teaching staff.
  • To gain control of the infection rate at building sites, the City of Oslo is introducing by-laws setting out clear rules for infection prevention measures at building sites. Intentional or grossly negligent violation of the infection prevention rules at building sites will be punishable by up to six months in prison. The new rules will be combined with enhanced and systematic testing at building sites.
  • In addition, the City Government advises people to avoid private gatherings and visits to private homes, with the exception of those living on their own and children and young people in the same cohort.
  • In addition to tightening up the infection prevention measures, the City Government will strengthen its testing and tracing activities with respect to children and young people as well as the population in general.

“We are concerned about the infection rate in Oslo, but are also worried about the impact such a lengthy shutdown could have on people’s mental health. We must find a balance between what can remain open while keeping the virus under control. We will look at every possibility to strengthen the municipality’s activities in the area of testing, isolation, tracing and quarantine (TISK). This includes the use of rapid tests and engaging in mass testing where appropriate. In this way, we can keep control of the infection level until we have sufficient vaccines,” says Oslo’s Vice Mayor for health Robert Steen (Labour Party).

Red risk level in high schools

To give high schools time to prepare for the introduction of the red risk level, no students are to go to school on Monday or Tuesday of the coming week. Students will be given time off or receive digital lessons. Specific instructions will be issued by each school.

“We must reduce the level of infection among children and young people. In conjunction with the Agency for Education, we will therefore look at the possibility of introducing further measures in schools, such as mass testing and restricting contacts between students. We are assessing these measures independently of the risk level we will have in schools going forward,” says Oslo’s Vice Mayor for Education Inga Marte Thorkildsen (Socialist Left Party).

At the same time, the City Government is keeping leisure activities, such as libraries, open for children and young people. There will, however, be some further restrictions on indoor activities for the 16–19 age group, which has seen a sharp rise in the infection rate. Gatherings of more than ten people will not be permitted and everyone must be able to keep a distance of one metre at all times.

The measures apply from Tuesday for a period of 14 days, up to and including 15 March.

Contact

Contact the City of Oslo

 

Watch the press conference from Sunday here.

 

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