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COVID-19

These are the current coronavirus restrictions in the Oslo area

Norway’s government recently introduced tighter restrictions due to concerns about the potential spread of more infectious Covid-19 variants. Here’s a run down of the rules and recommendations in the affected areas.

These are the current coronavirus restrictions in the Oslo area
Illustration photo. AFP

On Saturday, Norway's capital Oslo and nine neighbouring municipalities imposed strict shutdown measures, including the closure of all non-essential stores, after an outbreak of a more contagious coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain.

In addition to the 10 municipalities in which the strictest restrictions apply — now known as ‘Ring 1’ — a further 15 municipalities – termed ‘Ring 2’ – outlying the Ring 1 municipalities have also come under stricter measures. These are outlined further down this article.

In Ring 1, only essential shops remain open and municipalities are allowed to close primary schools and switch secondaries to remote learning.

All public events, indoors and outdoors, are cancelled apart from burials. Restaurants are limited to takeaway services.

The restriction initially included the closure of Vinmonopolet alcohol stores, but this decision has since been reversed.

The measures will remain in force until at least January 31st following the detection of the British variant in a home at Nordre Follo, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Oslo.

Authorities have also requested that those who live in one of the 10 municipalities covered by the measures do not travel to other municipalities under the broader national restrictions.

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The 10 ‘Ring 1’ municipalities covered are:

Oslo

Nordre Follo

Ås

Vestby

Nesodden

Indre Østfold

Frogn

Enebakk

Moss

Våler

Here is the full list of restrictions:

* All events outside the home are prohibited, both indoors and outdoors, with the exception of funerals and burials.

* Employers must ensure that employees work from home as far as is practically possible.

* Shops are closed. Exceptions are made for grocery stores, pharmacies and petrol stations.

* Grassroots sports for children and adults stopped.

* A stop in other leisure activities (choir, corps, theatre, etc.)

* Everyone should avoid home visits and gatherings in their own homes. 

* Exceptions to this include home services and visits to people who are in the last phase of life.

* Single people can be visited by or visit one or two regular friends or one permanent household.

* Children in kindergartens and primary schools can have visits from their own cohort.

* Everyone should avoid travel that is not strictly necessary. Travel to work must be considered strictly necessary.

* The municipalities and county municipalities should introduce reinforced measures on public transport, this may, for example, be that only up to 50 per cent capacity is used.

* One-on-one businesses, such as hairdressers, should introduce reinforced measures such as the use of face masks in situations where it is not possible to maintain a distance of one metre, or to reduce or temporarily remove treatment options that involve close face-to-face contact.

The following businesses and places will also close:

* Restaurants, but take away is allowed

* Gyms

* Swimming pools, water parks, spa facilities, hotel pools

* Places of worship, with the exception of funerals

* Libraries

* Amusement parks, bingo halls, gaming halls, playgrounds, bowling alleys and similar places where entertainment and leisure activities take place

* Museums

* Cinemas, theatres, concert venues and similar cultural and entertainment venues.

* Other public places and businesses where cultural, entertainment or leisure activities take place that gather people indoors.

Educational institutions:

Schools and kindergartens: Kindergartens, primary schools and lower secondary schools upgraded to level red in line with the national traffic light model. The municipalities may decide to close the schools and kindergartens if it is necessary to prepare for the red level or if the infection situation requires.

Upper secondary school: Digital teaching should be introduced in upper secondary school in week 4, and a transition to red level in upper secondary school should be prepared from week 5.

Universities, colleges and vocational colleges: Digital teaching will be introduced for all. All teaching and planned events must be postponed or made digital.

The premises at universities, colleges and vocational colleges are closed to all students.

The 15 ‘Ring 2’ municipalities are:

Asker

Aurskog-Høland

Bærum

Drammen

Horten

Lier

Lillestrøm

Lunner

Lørenskog

Marker, Nittedal

Rakkestad

Rælingen

Råde

Skiptvet

The measures in place in the Ring 2 outlying municipalities resemble the Ring 1 restrictions to a high extent, with a little more leniency. Here, shopping malls are closed but schools and kindergartens are at the ‘amber’ level of the national traffic light model. Upper secondary schools are at ‘red’ level.

Businesses that serve food or alcohol, libraries, places of worship and essential shops not located in shopping malls remain open in these areas. The list of essential shops is extended to include pet food stores, agriculture supplies, supplies for traders like electricians and carpenters, opticians and some others.

Leisure facilities for children and young people under 20 years old can also open, if they are not being used by others.

In line with national recommendations, authorities are asking all members of the public to minimise their social contact and to have no more than five visitors from outside of their own households.

Most other rules in place in the 10 central municipalities also apply in Ring 2. A full list is available on the HelseNorge website.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.

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