Councillor Raymond Johansen confirmed on Friday night (February 26th) to newspaper Avisa Oslo that restrictions would be tightened. The type of measures are not yet known, but Johansen said they will try to prioritise children and young people.
“As the situation is now, the city council sees no other way than to sharpen the social closure of Oslo”, said Johansen.
He said the city council would be looking at which measures to tighten over the weekend, and whether new measures would be introduced.
The assessments will be made in close collaboration with national health authorities and announced at a press conference on Sunday, February 28th, at 6pm.
A school principal told newspaper VG on Saturday that she had received a letter from the Education Agency that day, informing her that upper secondary schools in Oslo would move from the yellow level to the red level on Wednesday, March 3rd. Raymond Johansen’s office did not want to confirm this, but referred instead to the press conference on Sunday.
As people are returning from their winter holidays, the head of the health department with the city government, Robert Steen, wants all residents of Oslo who have travelled outside the city, to get tested.
On Friday, Steen said that the city government considers three primary causes to be behind the increased number of recent infections: more infectious variants, increased testing and a change in public behaviour.
“The winter holidays have meant that some groups have had a more relaxed attitude to the infection control rules. That behaviour needs to change,” he said.
551 new cases of the coronavirus were registered in Norway on Friday, the highest total since January 13th. Of those, 231 were detected in the capital city Oslo. This is the highest number of infections in one day in the capital since the pandemic started, according to newspaper NRK.
New analysis from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) on Saturday showed that the more infectious B117 variant, first detected in the U.K., now accounts for 50-70 per cent of the cases in Oslo, and just over 50 per cent of the cases in Viken in general.
The estimate is based on analyses of 72 per cent of all samples from cases detected with Covid-19 in Oslo between January 20th and February 23rd.
“This makes the situation especially in Oslo challenging, and it is important with good, fast and accurate measures to get control and get the infection down. This now places great demands on the municipalities and their ability to react”, says director of the National Institute of Public Health, Camilla Stoltenberg.