11 August: Better capacity in the Oslo health service
Press release: The City Government has increased the capacity of the health service to cope with the increase in infections and the spreading of the coronavirus in Oslo.
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“We are experiencing a rise in and spreading of the coronavirus in Oslo. This is why we are increasing the capacity of the corona telephone and the capacity of our testing stations, and the capacity for infection tracing and providing information to the inhabitants of Oslo. We are preparing for a situation where the infection and spreading of it may fluctuate to a high degree,” says Raymond Johansen (Labour Party - AP), the governing major of Oslo.
These are some of the new measures the City Government is introducing to cope with the infection and spreading of the coronavirus in Oslo:
- Corona telephone: More lines and more staff, and better sorting of those who need information and those who need testing.
- Ordering testing on the net: The possibility of ordering testing through Oslo kommune websites is being introduced to take pressure off the corona telephone.
- Testing stations: The testing capacity in the city of Oslo is being greatly increased, both by increasing the workforce at the existing stations and by offering a new drop-in service. For example, a new testing station established at Filipstad is especially aimed at passengers arriving on ferries.
- Testing patrols: Special fever patrols are being established that can come to the homes of the people who need to be tested but who are unable to come to a testing station on their own.
The city council is maintaining its home-office recommendation for all the 53 000 city of Oslo employees.
“When many employees can work from home, this is an effective and good measure to prevent buses, the underground, trains and trams from being over-filled. We also encourage all private and public employers to have home offices,” says Johansen.
The City Government is also recommending that people try to avoid using public transportation as much as possible.
“Many Oslo inhabitants have no choice but to use public transportation, so what is important to say is: avoid travelling by public transportation unless you absolutely must. Those people who can work from home must continue to do so. The virus is with us constantly and we must keep acting as if we are facing a pandemic,” says Vice Mayor for Environment and Transport, Lan Marie Berg (the Green Party - MDG).
To reduce infection she is encouraging people to spread out and use the entire city.
“Before the weekend we have marked areas at Sørenga to remind people to keep their distance. We are also looking at corresponding measures in several parks, for example the marking of areas and putting up information posters. I would also like to remind people that it is illegal to drink alcohol in parks and open public areas. Now everyone needs to be responsible and do their bit,” says Berg.
The City Government is waiting to hear about a national recommendation to use face masks when taking public transportation which is said to be coming on 14 August.
“We have a strong wish that there will be a national recommendation to use face masks when taking public transportation. With such a recommendation there should also be a system guaranteeing that everyone has access to free face masks. Face masks will protect people from infection when they cannot keep their distance of one metre – but such a recommendation may hopefully also encourage some people to stay home, walk or bike,” adds Raymond Johansen, the governing major.
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All status reports from Oslo city council on coronavirus outbreak