Positive tests for coronavirus have been increasing in the Norwegian capital, with 33 new cases on Sunday and 44 registered on Monday. Oslo Municipality has registered a total of 543 new cases over the last 14 days according to VG's running total of national database figures.
575 people are in quarantine in the city due to suspected potential infection, according to NRK.
Earlier on Monday, the head of the Directorate of Health, Bjørn Guldvog, called for new measures in the city. Guldvog said that undetected cases were part of the reason this was necessary.
Health minister Bent Høie has said he was “very concerned” about the spread of Covid-19 in Oslo and said on Sunday that he was prepared to introduce national measures if Oslo’s city administration did not follow Directorate of Health advice.
Oslo City Council leader Raymond Johansen announced the tightened restrictions on Monday evening.
“Today I feel a great responsibility to align state and capital. A conflict between Oslo and the state would damage people’s confidence in politicians, in authorities and in the ongoing response to the pandemic,” Johansen said at Monday’s briefing according to VG.
“The city council has therefore now decided to introduce new measures,” he added.
The measures to come into effect in Oslo are as follows.
- Temporary ban on indoor events with over 50 participants if the participants are not seated
- Face masks must be worn on public transport where it is not possible to maintain a social distance of 1 metre
- Face masks must be worn by home carers where it is not possible to maintain social distance
- Restaurants, cafes and other places where food is served must register all customers
The measures, which come into effect at noon on Tuesday, are to remain in place until at least October 13th, with a later assessment to be made by the city council over possible extension.
“When it is not possible to maintain a one-metre distance, passengers must use face masks. That means everyone must have a face mask on board with them,” Johansen said.
Oslo Police are to ensure that the face mask requirement is complied with, NRK reports.
A number of health directorate recommendations have not been put in place by Oslo, however. These include bans on gatherings of more than five people in private homes, entry to bars or nightclubs after 10pm and extra-curricular social activities at universities and colleges.
“These are measures we have already considered but felt were too early to introduce,” Johansen said. The city council met Saturday to discuss Directorate of Health recommendations but did not choose to implement them at that point, VG writes.
“We wanted to see the effect of the measures we had already introduced, and the autumn holiday means that congestion in Oslo is already less,” he said.
The Oslo City Council leader admitted he and Høie had “disagreed a little” over the necessary measures.
“We have been criticised for being too strict, but there are many signs that the interventions seem to be working,” he also said.