Bergen and 12 other municipalities go into lockdown due to an outbreak of the mutated virus

Beate HusaPhoto: Marit Hommedal / NTB

The Norwegian government introduced almost a complete lockdown in Bergen, Kvam, and Ulvik after an outbreak of the English mutated coronavirus. Ten other municipalities will also be affected by stricter measures.

The measures apply from 6:00 PM on Sunday and will initially last one week. The infection control measures have been introduced to give the municipalities an overview of the situation, Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie (H) stated.

“We must have stricter measures in municipalities that are affected by outbreaks of the more contagious variants of the virus than in the rest of the country. 

“We still have a goal of delaying the spread of these more contagious varieties. The municipalities that were part of the outbreak in Nordre Follo managed to do that, and I think Bergen and the surrounding municipalities will also be able to do that,” Høie said.

Unclear situation

The three worst-affected municipalities – Bergen, Kvam, and Ulvik – will have to implement the same strict measures as Oslo and some municipalities in Eastern Norway recently did.

“The situation in Bergen is demanding and confusing. Throughout the weekend, we have had a good dialogue with Bergen and the relevant neighboring municipalities where there are outbreaks of the English variant of the coronavirus and the South African variant. 

“The Norwegian Directorate of Health, in consultation with the National Institute of Public Health (FHI), has recommended enhanced infection control measures and a particularly high level of measures in Bergen Municipality, Kvam and Ulvik,” Director of Health Bjørn Guldvog said.

That means kindergartens, primary and secondary schools will operate at the “red” level. The infection control authorities may decide to close schools and kindergartens if necessary.

Closed stores, alcohol-serving ban

Shopping malls, department stores, and shops also have to close, with certain exceptions.

Exceptions include grocery stores, pharmacies, petrol stations, Vinmonopolet, kiosks, shops that sell animal feed and equipment for animals, and some others.

Wearing face masks in public places and public transport and taxis will be mandatory.

Gyms, libraries, swimming pools, museums, cinemas, cultural events, bingo halls, and the like will have to close.

An alcohol-serving ban will be introduced. Restaurants have to close, but takeaway is allowed. Everyone should avoid receiving visitors at home, but those who live alone people can receive one or two regular friends.

Stricter rules in surrounding municipalities

Stricter infection control measures are also being introduced in the ten surrounding municipalities. 

This applies to the municipalities of Alver, Askøy, Bjørnafjorden, Eidfjord, Osterøy, Samnanger, Ullensvang, Vaksdal, Voss, and Øygarden.

There, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools will continue to operate at the “yellow” level. 

National rules apply to events, and it is still allowed to organize sports activities for adults. This also applies to training, rehearsals for choir, corps, and theater.

Similar to the measures in the so-called Ring 1 municipalities, shopping centers and department stores will be closed. 

Shops will also be closed, with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, and a number of other outlets that sell necessary goods. An alcohol-serving ban will be introduced, but restaurants can stay open.

People will be able to receive visitors at home, but not more than five guests at a time. 

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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