Oslo tightens restrictions at schools and kindergartens as Covid-19 infections rise

Oslo is to introduce new restrictions on schools and kindergartens in an effort to stem increasing Covid-19 infection numbers in the city.

Oslo tightens restrictions at schools and kindergartens as Covid-19 infections rise
Photo: Kamil Tatol on Unsplash

The measures, which will stay in place until Easter, include the closure of indoor leisure activities. Schools will not be closed but more classes will be attended online from home, broadcaster NRK reports.

Executive mayor of Oslo Raymond Johansen called the infection situation in the city “very serious” as he announced the new restrictions.

“The interventions we have made now longer look as though they are effective,” he said.

According to the city council, the spread of the more infectious B117 variant is related to the increase in the prevalence of the virus in Oslo since January, NRK reports.

Infections are increasing in all age groups, including amongst 10-19 year olds.

“I’m asking you to see as few people as possible, have as few visitors at home as possible. Social gatherings indoors should now be avoided completely,” Johansen said.

“We cannot risk having the worst period of the whole pandemic in front of us,” he added.

The measures put forward by the Oslo government are as follows:

  • Red’ level at schools and kindergartens, meaning reinforced infection control measures and smaller groups. To take effect from Thursday.
  • ‘Red’ level to remain in place at upper secondary schools.
  • Youth activity clubs (fritidklubber) remain closed.
  • All indoor leisure activities banned.
  • Maximum outdoor group size of 10 people.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg noted in parliament on Tuesday that around 70 percent of Covid-19 infections in Norway over the last two weeks had occurred in Oslo and neighbouring Viken county.

The leader of the municipal health council, Robert Steen, told NRK that hospital admissions had increased by 450 percent.

Official data shows the city has seen 2,642 cases of the virus in the last two weeks, including 293 in the last daily update.

Local restrictions in the capital were first introduced on November 10th.

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Have Oslo’s new electric scooter rules reduced accidents?

New rules were brought in to combat the sharp rise in accidents and injuries involving electric scooters in Oslo. But, one month later, have the new regulations done the job?  

Have new rules had an impact on the number of accidents involving scooters in Oslo. Pictured it two e-scooters parked outside a

New rules brought in to cut down on the number of e-scooter accidents in Norway’s capital appear to have had the desired effect as incidents were more halved in September, when the rules were introduced, compared to the month before. 

This is according to figures from Oslo University Hospital’s (OUS) emergency department that have been obtained by newspaper Aftenposten

The Emergency Medical Service in Oslo registered 143 injuries in connection with electric scooters in September. In August, the month before measures were brought in, there were 301 injuries.’

Compared to the peak of accidents in June, where 436 injuries were recorded, incidents are down by almost two-thirds. 

“We are very happy. This is what we hoped for,” Henrik Siverts, chief physician at OUS’s emergency department, told the newspaper Aftenposten

‘We feared it would happen’: Oslo sees first death of electric scooter rider

Among the new stricter rules introduced for rental scooters, which included significantly cutting the number of devices in the city, was a curfew that prevented people from using them between 11pm and 5am. 

Siverts said that the curfew had a dramatic effect in reducing accidents at night. 

“Unsurprisingly, accidents have gone down at night time. What injuries we do get at night are probably people who privately own their scooters. But accidents have also gone down during the day, too,” he explained.  

Just eight injuries were recorded in September at night, compared to just under 100 in August. 

Over the summer, a surge in accidents meant accident and emergency departments in Oslo were forced to have more staff on during weekends. Still, as a result of the reduction in scooter accidents, staffing has now returned to normal. 

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