Oslo tightens restrictions at schools and kindergartens as Covid-19 infections rise

Oslo is to introduce new restrictions on schools and kindergartens in an effort to stem increasing Covid-19 infection numbers in the city.

Oslo tightens restrictions at schools and kindergartens as Covid-19 infections rise
Photo: Kamil Tatol on Unsplash

The measures, which will stay in place until Easter, include the closure of indoor leisure activities. Schools will not be closed but more classes will be attended online from home, broadcaster NRK reports.

Executive mayor of Oslo Raymond Johansen called the infection situation in the city “very serious” as he announced the new restrictions.

“The interventions we have made now longer look as though they are effective,” he said.

According to the city council, the spread of the more infectious B117 variant is related to the increase in the prevalence of the virus in Oslo since January, NRK reports.

Infections are increasing in all age groups, including amongst 10-19 year olds.

“I’m asking you to see as few people as possible, have as few visitors at home as possible. Social gatherings indoors should now be avoided completely,” Johansen said.

“We cannot risk having the worst period of the whole pandemic in front of us,” he added.

The measures put forward by the Oslo government are as follows:

  • Red’ level at schools and kindergartens, meaning reinforced infection control measures and smaller groups. To take effect from Thursday.
  • ‘Red’ level to remain in place at upper secondary schools.
  • Youth activity clubs (fritidklubber) remain closed.
  • All indoor leisure activities banned.
  • Maximum outdoor group size of 10 people.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg noted in parliament on Tuesday that around 70 percent of Covid-19 infections in Norway over the last two weeks had occurred in Oslo and neighbouring Viken county.

The leader of the municipal health council, Robert Steen, told NRK that hospital admissions had increased by 450 percent.

Official data shows the city has seen 2,642 cases of the virus in the last two weeks, including 293 in the last daily update.

Local restrictions in the capital were first introduced on November 10th.

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Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

Sweden's Public Health Agency is recommending that those above the age of 80 should receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, as it shifts towards a longer-term strategy for the virus.

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

In a new recommendation, the agency said that those living in elderly care centres, and those above the age of 80 should from March 1st receive two vaccinations a year, with a six month gap between doses. 

“Elderly people develop a somewhat worse immune defence after vaccination and immunity wanes faster than among young and healthy people,” the agency said. “That means that elderly people have a greater need of booster doses than younger ones. The Swedish Public Health Agency considers, based on the current knowledge, that it will be important even going into the future to have booster doses for the elderly and people in risk groups.” 


People between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and young people with risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, poor kidney function or high blood pressure, are recommended to take one additional dose per year.

The new vaccination recommendation, which will start to apply from March 1st next year, is only for 2023, Johanna Rubin, the investigator in the agency’s vaccination programme unit, explained. 

She said too much was still unclear about how long protection from vaccination lasted to institute a permanent programme.

“This recommendation applies to 2023. There is not really an abundance of data on how long protection lasts after a booster dose, of course, but this is what we can say for now,” she told the TT newswire. 

It was likely, however, that elderly people would end up being given an annual dose to protect them from any new variants, as has long been the case with influenza.