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FEATURE

How do recommendations vary across Norway’s Covid-19 ‘letter’ scale?

Rings and letters dictate which coronavirus measures and recommendations apply in Norway’s municipalities. Here’s a breakdown of recommendations.

‘Rings’ are used for geographic designation of municipalities affected by larger outbreaks of regular Covid-19 or its mutated strains, according to the government.

  • Ring 1: Municipalities directly affected by outbreaks or with close ties to municipalities directly affected.
  • Ring 2: Municipalities surrounding Ring 1 municipalities.

Letters indicate the different levels of measures and recommendations.

  • A: Very high level
  • B: High level
  • C: Quite high level
  • D: Slightly high level

Different restrictions (covered in a separate article) apply depending on letter. But the letters also entail slightly different recommendations.

READ ALSO: The Covid-19 restrictions at each level of Norway’s ‘letter’ scale

Recommendations in level ‘A’ and ‘B’ municipalities:

  • Avoid having guests over in your home. Some exceptions apply for very old and ill people, children and people who live alone.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips. Travelling to your place of work may be necessary, but working from home is mandatory for everyone who can.
  • Only travel to your cabin with members of your own household. Do not receive guests. Go grocery shopping in the municipality where you live. Avoid public places and close proximity with people in the municipality where your cottage is.
  • People who are at risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, should try to minimise their chances of infection.

Recommendations in level ‘C’ and ‘D’ municipalities:

  • National recommendations apply for receiving guests in the home. This entails minimising social contact and do not receive more than five guests. Exceptions apply for children.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips. Travelling to your place of work may be necessary, but working from home is mandatory for everyone who can.
  • Only travel to your cabin with members of your own household. Do not receive guests. Go grocery shopping in the municipality where you live. Avoid public places and close proximity with people in the municipality where your cottage is.
  • People who are at risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, should try to minimise their chances of infection.

At the time of writing, the following municipalities are affected by the letter scale:

A: Bergen, Kvam and Ulvik.

B: Alver, Askøy, Bjørnafjorden, Eidfjord, Osterøy, Samnanger, Ullensvang, Vaksdal, Voss and Øygarden.

C: Halden, Oslo and Sarpsborg.

D: Asker, Bærum, Fredrikstad, Hvaler, Indre Østfold, Lillestrøm, Lunner, Lørenskog, Moss, Nittedal, Nordre Follo, Rakkestad, Rælingen, Råde, Skiptvet, Våler and Ås.

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TRAVEL

Could Oslo-Copenhagen overnight train be set for return?

A direct overnight rail service between the Norwegian and Danish capitals has not operated since 2001, but authorities in Oslo are considering its return.

Norway’s transport minister Knut Arild Hareide has asked the country’s railway authority Jernbanedirektoratet to investigate the options for opening a night rail connection between Oslo and Copenhagen.

An answer is expected by November 1st, after which the Norwegian government will decide whether to go forward with the proposal to directly link the two Nordic capitals by rail.

Jernbanedirektoratet is expected to assess a timeline for introducing the service along with costs, market and potential conflicts with other commercial services covering the route.

“I hope we’ll secure a deal. Cross-border trains are exciting, including taking a train to Malmö, Copenhagen and onwards to Europe,” Hareide told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The minister said he envisaged either a state-funded project or a competition awarding a contract for the route’s operation to the best bidder.

A future Oslo-Copenhagen night train rests on the forthcoming Jernbanedirektoratet report and its chances of becoming a reality are therefore unclear. But the Norwegian rail authority earlier this year published a separate report on ways in which passenger train service options from Norway to Denmark via Sweden can be improved.

“We see an increasing interest in travelling out of Norway by train,” Jernbanedirektoratet project manager  Hanne Juul said in a statement when the report was published in January.

“A customer study confirmed this impression and we therefore wish to make it simpler to take the train to destinations abroad,” Juul added.

Participants in the study said that lower prices, fewer connections and better information were among the factors that would encourage them to choose the train for a journey abroad.

Norway’s rail authority also concluded that better international cooperation would optimise cross-border rail journeys, for example by making journey and departure times fit together more efficiently.

The Femahrn connection between Denmark and Germany, currently under construction, was cited as a factor which could also boost the potential for an overland rail connection from Norway to mainland Europe.

Night trains connected Oslo to Europe via Copenhagen with several departures daily as recently as the late 1990s, but the last such night train between the two cities ran in 2001 amid dwindling demand.

That trend has begun to reverse in recent years due in part to an increasing desire among travellers to select a greener option for their journey than flying.

Earlier this summer, a new overnight train from Stockholm to Berlin began operating. That service can be boarded by Danish passengers at Høje Taastrup near Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany

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