What is the situation in Norway?
Weekly Covid-19 cases in Norway have been rising since early October, and in recent weeks several daily infection records for the whole pandemic have been set.
Last week, 14,654 people tested positive for the virus. This is the highest recorded weekly total since the pandemic began. The number of documented infections in Norway will also probably surpass the 250,000 mark this week.
The number of deaths associated with Covid-19 also reached a record level last week, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s latest weekly report. 45 Covid related deaths were registered last week and the number of deaths has increased for five consecutive weeks. Since the pandemic began, 1,049 people have died with Covid-19 as of November 24th.
However, the number of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 has decreased after increasing for four weeks. In the week beginning Monday, November 15th, 146 people were admitted to hospital. The number of patients in intensive care also dropped to 20, from 27 the week before.
The R-number or reproduction rate was 1.2 as of November 1st. This means that for every ten people infected with Covid, they will, on average, spread the infection to 12 people.
What measures are in place?
So far, very few national measures have been introduced to curb rising infections. Tighter testing for unvaccinated healthcare workers and close contacts of those with coronavirus who haven’t been vaccinated are the only national measures announced so far.
Tighter testing and entry registration rules have also been announced for travellers into Norway.
The government has announced the return of the domestic Covid-19 certificate to be used locally and implemented by municipalities to combat Covid cases, while avoiding stricter measures such as lockdowns and closing hospitality.
The domestic certificate is not currently in use yet, but several municipalities and big cities have introduced local measures.
In Oslo, face masks are recommended on public transport, in stores, in malls and taxis. This is, however, not mandatory or enforceable. In Trondheim, masks are compulsory on public transport, in taxis, in shops and shopping centres and in medical settings. In Bergen, face masks must be worn indoors where social distancing can’t be maintained. Pubs, restaurants and cafes need to keep a recorded detail on guests details. In Tromsø, masks need to be worn in taxis, on public transport, in shops and restaurants when not sat down.
How does Norway compare to other countries?
Among the nine countries The Local covers, Norway has the fifth-highest daily new Covid-19 cases per million people based on a seven-day rolling average, according to Our World in Data.
As of November 24th, Norway’s infection rate is 420 Covid-19 cases per million people.
Neighbours Sweden have the lowest current Covid-19 infection rate out of the countries The Local covers with 115 cases per million people. Norway’s other Scandinavian neighbour Denmark has the second-highest Covid rate with 690 cases per million people. Austria has the highest Covid incidence with 1,563 cases per million residents.
Norway has so far taken a much milder approach compared to other countries in terms of national measures.
Austria is currently in the midst of a nationwide lockdown, and from next year vaccines in the country will be mandatory.
In Germany, 2G measures have been introduced in several states, meaning that only vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid can enter public places like restaurants, bars and hotels.
Denmark, France, Switzerland and Italy are making use of health passes to combat infections, while Spain and Sweden have more relaxed restrictions than Norway with face masks being used indoors in Spain, and there are no restrictions in Sweden apart from border restrictions and an announced vaccine pass which won’t be implemented until December.