IN NUMBERS: The current status of the Covid-19 epidemic in Norway

Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths have been rising in Norway for weeks as the government and local authorities take measures to restrict the growth of the epidemic.

Pictured is Torgata in Oslo.
Here's what you need to know about the Covid-19 situation in Norway. Pictured is Torgata in Oslo. Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash

What is the situation in Norway? 

Weekly Covid-19 cases in Norway have been rising since early October, and in recent weeks several daily infection records for the whole pandemic have been set. 

Last week, 14,654 people tested positive for the virus. This is the highest recorded weekly total since the pandemic began. The number of documented infections in Norway will also probably surpass the 250,000 mark this week. 

The number of deaths associated with Covid-19 also reached a record level last week, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s latest weekly report. 45 Covid related deaths were registered last week and the number of deaths has increased for five consecutive weeks. Since the pandemic began, 1,049 people have died with Covid-19 as of November 24th.

However, the number of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 has decreased after increasing for four weeks. In the week beginning Monday, November 15th, 146 people were admitted to hospital. The number of patients in intensive care also dropped to 20, from 27 the week before. 

The R-number or reproduction rate was 1.2 as of November 1st. This means that for every ten people infected with Covid, they will, on average, spread the infection to 12 people. 

What measures are in place?

So far, very few national measures have been introduced to curb rising infections. Tighter testing for unvaccinated healthcare workers and close contacts of those with coronavirus who haven’t been vaccinated are the only national measures announced so far. 

Tighter testing and entry registration rules have also been announced for travellers into Norway. 

The government has announced the return of the domestic Covid-19 certificate to be used locally and implemented by municipalities to combat Covid cases, while avoiding stricter measures such as lockdowns and closing hospitality. 

READ MORE: Why is Norway’s domestic Covid-19 certificate not yet in effect?

The domestic certificate is not currently in use yet, but several municipalities and big cities have introduced local measures. 

In Oslo, face masks are recommended on public transport, in stores, in malls and taxis. This is, however, not mandatory or enforceable. In Trondheim, masks are compulsory on public transport, in taxis, in shops and shopping centres and in medical settings. In Bergen, face masks must be worn indoors where social distancing can’t be maintained. Pubs, restaurants and cafes need to keep a recorded detail on guests details. In Tromsø, masks need to be worn in taxis, on public transport, in shops and restaurants when not sat down. 

How does Norway compare to other countries? 

Among the nine countries The Local covers, Norway has the fifth-highest daily new Covid-19 cases per million people based on a seven-day rolling average, according to Our World in Data

As of November 24th, Norway’s infection rate is 420 Covid-19 cases per million people.

A graph showing the daily Covid-19 cases per million across the countries The Local covers.
Above you can see how Covid-19 rates compare across the countries The Local covers. Photo from Our World in Data.

Neighbours Sweden have the lowest current Covid-19 infection rate out of the countries The Local covers with 115 cases per million people. Norway’s other Scandinavian neighbour Denmark has the second-highest Covid rate with 690 cases per million people. Austria has the highest Covid incidence with 1,563 cases per million residents. 

Norway has so far taken a much milder approach compared to other countries in terms of national measures. 

Austria is currently in the midst of a nationwide lockdown, and from next year vaccines in the country will be mandatory. 

In Germany, 2G measures have been introduced in several states, meaning that only vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid can enter public places like restaurants, bars and hotels.

READ MORE: How Europe is responding to the new wave of Covid

Denmark, France, Switzerland and Italy are making use of health passes to combat infections, while Spain and Sweden have more relaxed restrictions than Norway with face masks being used indoors in Spain, and there are no restrictions in Sweden apart from border restrictions and an announced vaccine pass which won’t be implemented until December.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”