Why coronavirus restrictions in Oslo are yet to affect infection numbers
Oslo introduced tightened measures at the end of October in response to increasing cases of coronavirus in the city, before further restricting the city with a social lockdown, which came into effect earlier this week.
Local restrictions have been tightened in Oslo on a number of occasions, with the measures announced on October 26th the most recent preceding the ‘social lockdown’ which came in to effect at the beginning of this week.
The ‘social lockdown', which came into effect from Tuesday, means the closure of a broad section of sports and culture facilities, assembly limitations, as well as a ban on serving alcohol at all times.
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Although the restrictions, announced on October 26th and effective three days later, were considered strict, there is little evidence so far of their impact on infection numbers, VG reports.
The last two weeks have seen 1,922 new cases of coronavirus registered in Oslo, an average of 137.2 daily, the newspaper notes.
The two weeks before the October 29th measures – which included mandatory facemask use at crowded indoor public places and a ban on entry to bars after 10pm – saw numbers of 965 infections. The total infections have therefore approximately double in the two weeks since.
The number of infections per 100,000 residents over a two-week period in Oslo has increased from 139 to 277, according to VG.
The deputy director of the Norwegian, Directorate of Health, Espen Nakstad, told the newspaper that these numbers prove additional measures were necessary. These have been implemented, in the form of the social lockdown.
He noted a lag before the effect of restrictions can be seen in patient data.
“That’s why it’s difficult to interpret the effect of measures that came after this [the beginning of the lag period, ed.]. We have good faith that the numbers can plateau, albeit at a high level, towards next week and that the new measures will eventually bring them downwards a week or two after that,” he said.
“It is naturally the case that this depends on people following the rules. It seems as though people are doing so, but we depend on the vast majority doing it and that we don’t import infections from abroad,” he added.
On Friday, Norway registered 259 cases nationally, according to VG’s running total based on official MSIS registrations.
107 people are hospitalised with Covid-19 across the country, 3 fewer than yesterday. 23 are in intensive care, an increase of 2.
294 people in total have lost their lives to Covid-19 in Norway since the beginning of the pandemic.