‘It’s time for drastic measures’: Oslo raises emergency level to fight virus

'It's time for drastic measures': Oslo raises emergency level to fight virus
Oslo City Hall (above) brought in new restrictions on Wednesday. Photo: Visit Oslo
Oslo's city government has raised its emergency level to 'Level 3', and brought in a raft of strict new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, citing the "extremely serious" situation.
“We are in a very serious situation for our capital, for Norway and for the international community,” Oslo Mayor Raymond Johansen said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “We must do everything in our power to limit the contagion and spare the most vulnerable. It is time for drastic measures.” 
 
Oslo's new tougher measures largely mirror those announced on Tuesday by Bergen, Norway's second city. Bergen on Wednesday announced that cruise passengers would no longer be permitted to disembark in the city .
 
 
Oslo Mayor Raymond Johansen underlined that the situation was “very serious”. Photo: Oslo Kommune
 
Level 3 allows Oslo's city authorities to establish central crisis management in the city, with enhanced coordination between different agencies.
 
 
As well as the new emergency level, the city announced the following measures:
 
  • All events with more than 100 people will now have to apply for permission to the municipality before taking place. All events with more than 500 people have been banned. 
  • Nightclubs, restaurant, meeting rooms and other venues must ensure that everyone present can maintain a distance from others in the venue of at least one metre. 
  • Oslo City Hall will be closed to tourists and events, and restrictions will be placed on the number of guests during weddings.
  • Information will be sent out to all the inhabitants of the municipality via SMS.
 
The city for now intends to keep schools and kindergartens open, councillor Inge Marte Torkildsen said, but recommended that they avoid all unnecessary activities which might expose students to infection. 
 
Robert Rastad, the Director General of Bergen municipality said that the cruise ship decision had been taken partly to reduce crowding.  
 
“We are doing this as one of many measures to both reduce crowding in the city, and also to reduce the possibility of coronavirus infection, and to prevent guests from the risk of being infected when they visit us, said the municipality director. 
 
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