Following an outbreak of the recently discovered Omicron Covid-19 variant in Oslo, the government on Thursday announced that a number of new measures would be introduced in the Norwegian capital as well as Asker, Bærum and the catchment area of Ahus.
“There are many indications that Omicron is highly contagious. There is little to suggest that the variant causes more serious illness. The outbreak in Oslo shows you can be infected even if you have been fully vaccinated. There are many indications that the vaccine protects less against infection,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said at a government briefing.
The following measures will be introduced:
- Face masks will be mandatory when it is not possible to keep a social distance of one metre in public spaces such as shops, malls, restaurants, and on public transport. This won’t apply to children under 12.
- At private indoor events in public places or rented venues, the capacity will be limited to 100 people.
- Guests will need to register in hospitality settings.
- At workplaces where working from home is possible and doesn’t compromise a necessary service, home working should be implemented for all or part of the week.
- All guests at venues that have serve alcohol will need to be seated, and table service will be used.
The changes are effective from midnight on December 3rd.
Several national recommendations aimed at limiting contact were also introduced, such as social distancing where possible and avoiding hugs and handshakes. Employers are also advised to implement a partial home office where this doesn’t compromise a vital service.
“We ask adults to keep their distance, preferably one metre, (and) to avoid hugging and handshakes. We recommend workplaces facilitate home offices where possible. We must ensure that employees work from home part of the time,” health minister Ingvild Kjerkol said at the press conference.
The government also announced that all travellers, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or have previously had the virus, will need to take a Covid-19 after arriving in Norway. In most cases this will be done at the border. In instances where testing at the border isn’t possible, arrivals will have 24 hours to get themselves tested. This measure takes effect from midnight on Friday.