Coronavirus restrictions tighten

Norway instates new measures to prevent a “second wave”

coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Ørn E. Borgen / NTB scanpix
Prime Minister Erna Solberg prepares to address the Norwegian Parliament about new coronavirus restrictions.

The Local

Prime Minister Erna Solberg presented a significant tightening of Norway’s coronavirus restrictions on Nov. 5.

Solberg urged the Norwegian public to “stay inside as much as possible and have as little social contact with others as possible” as she presented the measures in parliament, the newspaper VG reported.

Several of the measures affect travel into the country, including travel for family members visiting relatives based in Norway. Solberg also advised strongly against travelling within Norway.

The measures announced by the government last month were no longer far-reaching enough, she said.

“We do not have time to wait and see if the measures we introduced the week before last are sufficient. We must act now to avoid a lockdown,” she said.

The new restrictions and recommendations are as follows.

All residents encouraged to remain at home as much as possible

Maintain a 2-meter (6.5 feet) social distance from people in at-risk groups

No more than 20 people allowed to attend private events at public places; a maximum of 50 at indoor events without fixed seating. Up to 200 at indoor events with fixed seating

Avoidance of all non-essential foreign travel

National ban on serving alcohol after midnight

Mandatory negative COVID-19 test requirement for all international arrivals from “red” countries

Arrivals with no permanent Norwegian address or without employment reasons must carry out a 10-day quarantine at a “corona hotel” and be tested for coronavirus

The last of the above rules means that family members visiting relatives in Norway must quarantine for 10 days at a designated hotel.

The new measures will be reviewed before Christmas, VG reported.

“The situation is very serious. If this trend continues as now, we could see the same thing happen as in more and more countries in Europe. The concern is that the health system will collapse,” Solberg said.

She also said that “parties are over” for the time being, referring to people gathering at home in lieu of closed nightlife.

The government has additionally presented measures that municipalities with high infection rates will be  asked to implement locally. The Directorate of Health and Norwegian Institute for Public Health (NIPH) will determine which measures will be applied regionally, according to VG’s report.

The regional measures are as follows.

Ban on recreational sports for adults

Consider closing recreational sports for those age 20 or younger

Additional restrictions on cafes, bars, and restaurants including a full ban on serving alcohol  after 10 p.m. or closure at that time to reduce the total number of customers per day

Additional restrictions on maximum assembly numbers

Requirement to wear face masks in taxis in places where they are already required on public transport

Two-meter (6.5 feet) social distance for indoor sporting activity

Mandatory working from home

Closure or limitation of businesses and activities with potential for infection spread, including, but not limited to, swimming pools, gyms, sports centers, bingo halls, museums, libraries, event venues without permanent seating, and other public places where large numbers can gather indoors

The Directorate of Health is working on further recommendations and requirements, VG wrote. These include an update to face mask requirements, including relating to public transport and places of work. Currently, face masks can be made mandatory on public transport and in public indoor areas where social distancing is not possible.

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 13, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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