Oslo extends lockdown but relaxes rules for Christmas events and young people

Raymond Johansen face maskPhoto: Heiko Junge / NTB
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Oslo Municipality is extending its social lockdown until after the New Year. However, it’s relaxing some of the rules for Christmas events and young people.

“Christmas 2020 will not be as it usually is. But fortunately, it looks like we can enter Christmas time with positive developments in the infection situation,” City Council chief Raymond Johansen said at Thursday’s press conference.

Although the infection has clearly decreased, the decline in the number of cases has stopped this week. 

Therefore, the City Council believes that it is too early to lift anti-corona measures in Oslo at the moment.

“We must get the infection down before we can open up. Therefore, the City Council has decided to continue the social closure of Oslo for the rest of the year,” Johansen said.

A new assessment of the measures will take place on January 7.

Until then, the City Council has decided that a maximum of ten people can gather at private gatherings in Oslo.

The virus thrives in big cities

“The infection pressure in Oslo is much greater than in most of the country. We will most likely have to live with stricter rules in Oslo than in the rest of the country until this pandemic is over.

“There is more of us; we live and socialize more closely. Viruses thrive better in big cities, simply put,” the City Council leader noted.

At the same time, the City Council believes that there is room for some minor relief as the infection rates go down, and it seems that they have control over the situation.

This is especially true for the disadvantaged, leisure clubs, worship services, and other philosophical gatherings.

Slight relaxation of measures

The municipality opened up to up to 20 participants at a time for Christmas events for the disadvantaged.

“People with substance abuse problems, the homeless, children, and young people in a difficult situation or other vulnerable groups may be dependent on such events to get a bright spot during the Christmas holidays. We, therefore, make an exception from the ban on events for such alternative Christmas events,” Johansen said.

Christmas services and other philosophical gatherings for up to 20 participants at a time will also be allowed.

“Churches and other religious and philosophical communities are important gathering places for people at Christmas. There must be fixed seats, at least one meter of distance, and strict practice of infection control,” he added.

The same number applies to leisure clubs. Leisure clubs will be allowed to accommodate up to 20 young people at a time for the age group between 13 and 19 years.

Limiting contact

Even with restrictions on how many people can gather, mobility will increase due to the Christmas holidays. 

The City Council leader asked all residents to be careful and follow the infection control rules.

“If we are to be able to ease the measures in January further, we are completely dependent on everyone who travels in and out of the city in the coming weeks to take on responsibility for avoiding the spread of infection,” Johansen said.

“If you are going to travel at Christmas, I would strongly recommend you have as little social contact as possible before and after you travel. 

“This way, you can avoid taking the infection out of the city or bringing it back to the city,” he concluded.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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