Working from home in Norway ‘probable’ for rest of 2020

Working from home in Norway 'probable' for rest of 2020
A file photo showing traffic in Norway. Photo: AFP
A leading health official in Norway has predicted working from home to be a necessity in the country for at least the rest of this year, in the ongoing effort to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

Working from home will continue to be advised by health authorities in order to help prevent Covid-19 being spread by commuters on busy public transport, according to Bjørn Guldvog, director of the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

An increase in commuter traffic, coinciding with the end of the period when many in Norway take their summer holiday, should be minimised, Guldvog said.

“It remains the case that we are dependent on not everyone travelling at the same time in rush hour in densely populated areas. So the goal is to reduce (commuter) travel by about half,” he said in comments reported by VG.

That means the health directorate led by Guldvog will continue to recommend working from home where possible.

“People who work in childcare and at schools are reliant on public transport to get to work. They must be given priority on public transport in rush hour,” he said.

Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell recently urged employees to keep working from home throughout the autumn, sentiments echoed by Guldvog's comments.

“It is probable that we will need to have home offices for the rest of the year, possibly longer,” the head of the Norwegian Directorate of Health said.

“But we are not saying that you can only work from home, just some of the time, so that we reduce the volume on public transport in urban areas where there’s a lot of rush hour traffic,” he added.

READ ALSO: Norway's Covid-19 travel rules: Switzerland amongst next group of likely 'red' countries

The current state of coronavirus infection spread within Norway remains low, despite an outbreak on the AS Roald Amundsen cruise ship which could affect people living in different parts of the country.

14 people were admitted to hospital in Norway with Covid-19 as of Monday – an increase of 11 since Friday. The latest figure is the highest for hospital admissions in the country since July 3rd. Of the 14 hospitalised people, 1 is receiving ventilator care, according to the data from the Norwegian Directorate of Health (Helsedirektoratet).

 

The most recent weekly report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), covering the week commencing July 20th, notes that 94 new Covdi-19 cases were detected in the country during that week, up from 53 during the preceding week.

One person died of the virus on Friday night, bringing the country's death toll to 256. It was the first coronavirus-related death in Norway for two weeks.

Newspaper VG reports that three municipalities – Moss, Haugesund and Sveio – are currently seeing a clear upward trend in infection numbers.

Health minister Bent Høie, in comments given at a Friday press conference, pointed to local outbreaks as a key challenge faced by Norwegian authorities in keep the virus under control.

“It is to be expected that we will see increased outbreaks when people are back at school and work. The first step in response procedures is to manage it locally and crack down on outbreaks as early as possible,” the minister said.


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