Bent Høie and Raymond Johansen had contact on Friday, the same day as Oslo municipality received the much-discussed letter of initiative from the health authorities.
But ahead of Johansen’s blowout during the press conference on Monday, there was no contact between the two. Dagbladet receives confirmation from sources in both camps that Høie had no idea what Raymond Johansen was going to say, or what measures the city council leader planned to introduce in Oslo.
The Minister of Health and Care Services, who has the political responsibility for combating the pandemic in Norway, therefore had to wait until Johansen went live on TV to get the answer.
The same applies to the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the National Institute of Public Health.
The background is a dispute over corona handling in Oslo, and what City Councilor Raymond Johansen perceives as politically threatening behavior from Høie. Johansen perceived that the city council’s handling of the coronavirus was called into question by the Minister of Health’s proposal in the media.
– Over the weekend, the Minister of Health has taken the unusual step and threatened to overrule Oslo if we do not introduce the measures immediately, Johansen said for an open stage.
The letter sent on Friday presents a number of measures that Høie and the Norwegian Directorate of Health thought the capital should introduce to stop the increase in infection in Oslo.
Threat of administration
But Raymond Johansen initially wanted to wait to introduce new measures.
Dagbladet is aware that the city council leader perceived the letter from Høie, and Høie’s media play on Sunday and Monday, as a de facto threat to put Oslo municipality under administration if the government was not obeyed.
Several describe a “pissed off” Raymond Johansen in the days between Friday and the press conference on Monday night. They say the Labor Party experienced the corona leads from Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) as untimely.
– The City Council has invited to a press conference later today. I expect that the municipality will follow the health authorities’ advice. I am very worried about the situation in Oslo, Høie said on Monday.
Raymond had to turn around
At the press conference, a clearly annoyed Johansen was aware that Oslo Municipality had control over the infection situation.
The plan was to await the situation, but due to the pressure from Høie, the city council leader agreed to introduce some of the measures proposed in the letter.
At the same time, Raymond Johansen rejected the proposal to limit private gatherings to five people, and to close nightclubs for admission at 10 pm.
Johansen pointed out that Oslo closed schools and kindergartens before the government did so this spring and also introduced strict measures against nightlife earlier than the government.
Oslo has 680,000 inhabitants. In total, the municipalities Høie mentions 1.3 million inhabitants. The new infection control measures can thus include about one in four Norwegians.