Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) will not tighten the corona rules right now. However, she warned strict new measures could be implemented if the spread of infection does not decrease.
“The situation is delicate,” Solberg said in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) on Tuesday. The epidemic is unstable, and the spread of infection is still too high, she warned.
The infection number R is 1.3. That means that an average of 100 infected people will spread the infection to 130 new people. As long as the R-number is above 1, the infection will only increase.
Nevertheless, Solberg will not introduce new national measures just yet. But the government has presented a list of measures that will be introduced if the infection does not go down.
“Many municipalities have now introduced strict local measures. We do not yet fully know the effect of these. Therefore, it is now too early to resort to stricter national measures. Instead, we will further strengthen the model with local measures,” Solberg explained in the report.
“It is crucial that we manage to stay in control,” she said.
According to Solberg, the new infection control measures can be introduced at short notice. They are based on recommendations from the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
These are the national measures on the list:
- Recommendation to keep a distance of two meters from others except people in their own household, or close contacts to single people.
- Recommendation of a maximum of ten private contacts per week, in addition to the limit of a maximum of five guests.
- Prohibition on the serving of alcohol.
- Prohibition of indoor organized sports and leisure activities for adults. Exceptions for top professional athletes.
- Closure of gyms and swimming pools. Exceptions for swimming training for children and rehabilitation.
- Closure of entertainment facilities such as amusement parks, bingo halls, and the like.
- Employers must ensure that employees work from home in all workplaces where it is practically possible
- Fewer participants at events. Indoors: 20 people with assigned seats (down from 100), 50 people at funerals and ceremonies (down from 100), 50 people at events for those under 20 –only from the same municipality. Outdoors: 50 people at events (down from 200 or 600 with assigned seats).
If the situation becomes serious enough, even stricter measures will also be considered.
Solberg also communicated a disappointing message about Easter. The government is asking everyone to avoid traveling abroad at Easter and all Norwegians abroad not to come home for the Easter holiday.
“When it comes to measures at Easter, the government will come back with specific recommendations. How strict they are will depend on the development of the infection in the near future,” Solberg said.
“But we already now encourage Norwegians living abroad not to come home at Easter this time. This also applies to students. We also encourage Norwegians and people living in Norway not to leave the country at Easter,” she said.
Change of vaccination strategy
Several changes to the vaccination strategy were also announced on Tuesday. The main measure is that the interval between the first and second vaccine dose is increased from three weeks to six weeks so that more people can be vaccinated with the first dose faster.
“The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is also looking at whether the interval can be extended further. In that case, it will increase the speed of vaccination of the population with the first dose considerably,” Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) said in a press release.
In addition, it has now been clarified that the vaccine from AstraZeneca will be offered to people over 65 years of age.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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