Coronavirus: Norwegian county advises against taking public transport to Oslo

The county governor in Vestfold and Telemark has advised residents of the region, home to a significant number of commuters, to avoid taking public transport to Oslo.

Coronavirus: Norwegian county advises against taking public transport to Oslo
File photo: AFP

The Norwegian capital has seen the highest numbers of new cases of Covid-19 in recent weeks, although only 21 were registered in the 24 hours prior to Monday’s update, according to figures from the Oslo city government.

That is the lowest number of daily infections in Oslo since at least September 28th. Daily totals for new cases in the city have generally hovered around 50 in recent weeks, with 60 and 42 registered on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Nationally, the most recent total for new registered cases is 58, according to NRK.

Oslo authorities said late last week that they would extend current coronavirus restrictions in the city, overriding a national easing of measures during October.


In addition to advising against taking public transport to Oslo, the Vestfold and Telemark county governor urged the use of face masks if journeys are unavoidable and a distance of one metre cannot be maintained.

The advice was issued by the county via a statement on its website.

Working from home was encouraged wherever possible for Oslo commuters who live in Vestfold and Telemark, the southernmost county in eastern Norway.

“The county governor in Vestfold and Telemark has today been in consultation with leaders from municipalities in the county. The aim of the meeting was to create a unified approach to how we must respond to the increased infection numbers (of Covid-19) in Oslo and in our own county. In the meeting, commuting to Oslo was a key topic,” the statement reads.

“We agreed on the recommendations the Norwegian Institute for Public Health has made for municipalities which have close contact to Oslo via commuting, which residents should follow travelling to and from Oslo,” it added.

That means recommending avoiding public transport, using face masks on congested transport and working from home where possible, it said.

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Have Oslo’s new electric scooter rules reduced accidents?

New rules were brought in to combat the sharp rise in accidents and injuries involving electric scooters in Oslo. But, one month later, have the new regulations done the job?  

Have new rules had an impact on the number of accidents involving scooters in Oslo. Pictured it two e-scooters parked outside a

New rules brought in to cut down on the number of e-scooter accidents in Norway’s capital appear to have had the desired effect as incidents were more halved in September, when the rules were introduced, compared to the month before. 

This is according to figures from Oslo University Hospital’s (OUS) emergency department that have been obtained by newspaper Aftenposten

The Emergency Medical Service in Oslo registered 143 injuries in connection with electric scooters in September. In August, the month before measures were brought in, there were 301 injuries.’

Compared to the peak of accidents in June, where 436 injuries were recorded, incidents are down by almost two-thirds. 

“We are very happy. This is what we hoped for,” Henrik Siverts, chief physician at OUS’s emergency department, told the newspaper Aftenposten

‘We feared it would happen’: Oslo sees first death of electric scooter rider

Among the new stricter rules introduced for rental scooters, which included significantly cutting the number of devices in the city, was a curfew that prevented people from using them between 11pm and 5am. 

Siverts said that the curfew had a dramatic effect in reducing accidents at night. 

“Unsurprisingly, accidents have gone down at night time. What injuries we do get at night are probably people who privately own their scooters. But accidents have also gone down during the day, too,” he explained.  

Just eight injuries were recorded in September at night, compared to just under 100 in August. 

Over the summer, a surge in accidents meant accident and emergency departments in Oslo were forced to have more staff on during weekends. Still, as a result of the reduction in scooter accidents, staffing has now returned to normal. 

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