Parts of western Norway placed on partial lockdown after Covid variant outbreak

Parts of western Norway placed on partial lockdown after Covid variant outbreak
Photo by MAO YUQING on Unsplash
Municipalities in the west of Norway Sunday entered into partial lockdowns after an outbreak of mutated Covid-19 variants. Here’s what you need to know.

Norway’s second largest city Bergen has been struck by two independent outbreaks of the mutated strain B.1.1.7, which was first discovered in the UK, and the strain B.1.351, first discovered in South Africa.

So far, 16 cases of B.1.1.7 and seven cases of B.1.351 have been reported.

“The extent of the outbreaks is considered unclear, independently of one another,” said Head of the City Council in Bergen, Roger Valhammer at a press conference Sunday.

“This is why we are now pressing the red button,” said Valhammer.

In order to prevent further transmission of the mutated variants, the national government imposed strict measures in Bergen and twelve other municipalities. The measures came into force Sunday 7th of February, and are scheduled to last to Sunday 14th of February, according to a government press release.

As with the January outbreak in Nordre Follo and the Oslo-region in the east of the country, municipalities are divided into two groups, depending on the severity of the measures. The strictest measures are imposed in “Ring 1” municipalities, while the measures in the “Ring 2” municipalities are slightly less strict.

“We need stricter measures in municipalities affected by the more contagious strains than in the rest of the country,” said Minister of Health Bent Høie in a press release.

“Our goal is still to strike down and delay the spread of these more infectious variants. The municipalities that were part of the Nordre Follo-outbreak has succeeded with this, and I believe Bergen and the municipalities around will succeed,” he added.

Ring 1 – Bergen, Kvam and Ulvik

  • Kindergardens, schools and universities operate on a “red” level. Kindergardens and schools may close if deemed necessary. Teaching should be remote and digital for high school and university students.
  • All events outside the home are cancelled. The only exception is for funerals.
  • All sports and leisure activities and events for children and adults are cancelled.
  • Everyone should work from home when possible.
  • All shops must close. The exceptions are grocery shops, shops that sell pet and animal food, pharmacies, opticions, Vinmonopolet and gas stations.
  • Restaurants and cafés are only allowed to sell takeaway food.
  • Serving alcohol is banned.
  • All other public places and businesses must keep closed. This includes gyms, leisure- and entertainment venues, places for religious gatherings, libraries, museums and cinemas.
  • People must wear face masks in public places such as shops, on public transport and public indoor areas. Children below the age of twelve do not have to wear a face mask.
  • People are recommended to avoid inviting visitors to their home and unnecessary travel.

Ring 2 – Alver, Askøy, Bjørnafjorden, Eidfjord, Osterøy, Samnanger, Ullensvang, Vaksdal, Voss and Øygarden

  • University students should receive remote and digital teaching.
  • Adults over the age of 20 are not permitted to participate in organise sports and leisure activities.
  • Everyone should work from home when possible.
  • All shopping centres and department stores must close. The exceptions are grocery shops, shops that sell pet and animal food, pharmacies, opticians, Vinmonopolet, restaurants and cafés, hairdressers and beauty salons, physiotherapists and chiropractors and gas stations.
  • Restaurants and cafés are allowed to stay open, but are not allowed to serve alcohol.
  • The following public places and businesses must keep closed: gyms, leisure- and entertainment venues, museums and cinemas.
  • People must wear face masks in public places such as shops, on public transport and public indoor areas. Children below the age of twelve do not have to wear a face mask.
  • People are recommended to avoid more than five visitors at a time in their home. People are also advised to avoid unnecessary travel.

See the full list of restrictions on the websites of the government and Bergen municipality.


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