Oslo issues new Corona crackdown

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The City of Oslo rolled out a new set of tougher restrictions in the capital on Monday, all aimed at halting a recent rapid rise in Corona virus infection. City government leader Rayond Johansen doesn’t want anyone to have contact with more than 10 people a week, and face masks will now be mandatory inside all public places when people can’t stay a meter apart.

A rather fierce and firm Raymond Johansen, leader of Oslo’s city government, announced stricter measures to fight the spread of the Corona virus in the Norwegian capital. PHOTO: Oslo kommune

As of noon on Thursday, all restaurant personnel will be required to wear masks and restaurant patrons will be required to use them indoors when not sitting at a table. No restaurants, cafés or bars can allow entry after 10pm and it will be prohibited for more than 20 people to gather indoors if they don’t have an assigned seat. That’s down from 50 in the previous set of rules.

Johansen, who represents the Labour Party, also urged everyone to work from home if possible, and employers must be able to show how they’ve arranged for home office use. Universities and colleges are also being asked to conduct classes and lectures digitally where possible.

“I have great understanding that many restaurant and bar owners think it’s difficult to follow all these new limitations, also when they’re changing all the time,” Johansen said. He also said he understands how weary everyone, including himself, has become of Corona restrictions.

“But the better we are at (fighting the spread of infection) properly, the quicker we can get back to more normal lives,” he said at a press conference Monday afternoon. He noted that Oslo has the highest numbers of Corona cases in the country and is most vulnerable to more infection arriving from abroad. He and state officials want to avoid the sort of lockdowns that have resumed around Europe.

Johansen has been particularly critical of all the foreign, mostly Eastern European, labourers who commute in and out of Norway to work in Norwegian shipyards, on construction projects, in homes and other areas of industry. He has been calling on state officials to better enforce national testing and quarantine rules.

He said he was glad that state officials were due to announce tougher rules regarding foreign workers in Norway later on Monday.

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund