Norwegian health official: Many people in Oslo have stopped using face masks. That’s surprising and unwise

Espen NakstadPhoto: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB

Espen Nakstad says he has noticed that more people have stopped using face masks in shops and public transport. 

The assistant director of health emphasized that the infection control guidelines are still the same in Oslo – people must keep at least one meter away from others and use face masks in crowded places.

“Today, we see very clearly that many in Oslo have stopped using face masks in shops and on public transport. It is surprising and not particularly wise in a city that still has a lot of infection among younger and unvaccinated age groups,” Nakstad told news bureau NTB.

He says the infection control guidelines are important for limiting the spread of infection during the city’s reopening.

“It does not really bode well for the further reopening in Oslo if more and more residents drop the infection control routines at the same time as they meet more and more people,” Nakstad said, adding that eight more weeks are needed until everyone has received the first vaccine dose.

More important than before

“Actually, it is more important to follow the infection control advice now than before, since the reopening entails quite a lot more contact between people. 

“It is important to do what you can as an individual to keep the infection down until more people have been vaccinated,” Nakstad warned.

He believes that there are two reasons why more and more people, in his opinion, are taking infection control more lightly.

“It is hot outside and uncomfortable to wear a face mask on buses and subways. In addition, many people probably interpret the reopening in Oslo as a signal that it is now ok to relax. I think neither Oslo nor the national authorities think so, but it is, of course, a pedagogical challenge to get people to stay focused on infection control,” Nakstad noted.

Reopening of Oslo

Oslo reopened earlier this week after being partially closed for more than six months. This weekend was the first with open restaurants and alcohol serving in a long time. 

On Saturday, several people were out and enjoying the nice weather in the capital, both in parks and at outdoor cafes. Both health councilor Robert Steen and City Council chief Raymond Johansen have warned the population against taking infection control lightly during the reopening process.

At the same time, Norway has entered stage two of the national reopening plan. 

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

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