On Sunday, both the Minister of Health Bent Høie and the Director of Health Bjørn Guldvog went out to the media and made an urgent appeal that the City Council of Oslo pressed the alarm button and tightened the measures for the capital’s residents further.
Guldvog told Dagbladet that he “is waiting in excitement”, and hopes that city councilor Raymond Johansen will take action.
On Friday night, the health authorities sent a 14-day package of measures to Oslo, with a number of points. Among other things, it was proposed to reduce the number who can meet in private and public and impose home offices for those who can. However, after a meeting of the city council on Saturday, it was decided to wait.
On Sunday, Høie told Aftenposten that he is “very worried”, and that if Oslo does not take action now, the government may overrule the city council and introduce the measures.
He repeated the message at the government’s press conference on Monday afternoon.
– I expect that the municipality will follow the health authorities’ advice, Høie said.
Høie points out, among other things, that a large proportion of those infected have an unknown route of infection.
– I have good contact with Raymond Johansen and conveyed my concern directly to him, said Høie.
However, the city council leader said no later than Sunday night that he thought it was too early with new measures for Oslo.
– We have no plans to introduce new measures tomorrow. Now we introduced measures last Monday, and we must first see if it works, Johansen told Dagbladet on Sunday night.
He pointed out, among other things, that the time is wrong, because many people in Oslo have left during the autumn holidays. In addition, he pointed out that many are now tired of taking action.
– We are concerned that the measures we come up with are understood, and that they should be adequate and correct, Johansen said.
– We must have some time to see that the measures we have introduced work. We see that the infection rates have decreased somewhat, but we are prepared to introduce more measures if necessary.
On Monday, however, the pipe may have had a different sound, and the Oslo City Council has announced a briefing on the corona situation, as well as new measures, at 6 p.m.
Høie also fears that the Oslo infection will spread to other municipalities and has called for a crisis meeting about possible measures already on Monday night. 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.
Guldvog and Høie both believe that there is a risk that Oslo will lose control of the infection situation, and that it is better to be careful and introduce further measures.
– There is considerable uncertainty associated with the infection situation in Oslo. Therefore, we believe that one should rather respond with clear measures early, than wait and see how it goes. There is a certain risk that we may lose control, and then it is much more demanding to get the infection numbers down, Guldvog said on Sunday.
Guldvog also pointed out that the spread of infection in Oslo is now the most important driver of the epidemic in Norway, and that capital epicenter is also the situation in the rest of Europe.
– It is therefore important that Norway also takes measures to prevent the infection from spreading from Oslo to the rest of the country.
These are the measures the Norwegian Directorate of Health and NIPH recommend for Oslo:
- Prohibition of private gatherings of more than five people. This will not apply to people who are in the same household. Today, private gatherings of more than ten people in Oslo are prohibited.
- That admission to nightclubs will be stopped at 22 o’clock.
- Intensified control of restaurants, to ensure that the infection control advice is complied with, among other things with regard to distance indoors and in the queue outside.
- Prohibition of events at upper secondary schools and universities, which are not teaching-related.
- Order for home office for everyone who can.
- Strengthen compliance with the use of face masks on public transport in and to / from Oslo.