Norway has now registered the highest number of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 since May.
‘We are facing the most serious infection situation since March. If we all make a major effort to quash the spread now, there is a much greater chance we will be able to enjoy our normal Christmas celebrations together with our extended families,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
The Prime Minister stressed that the actions of each and every one of us in the weeks ahead will be crucial in determining how the COVID-19 situation develops.
‘Unfortunately, we must expect to see more hospitalisations due to coronavirus in the time to come, and more people will become critically ill. We have to introduce new measures to reverse this trend,’ said Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.
In August, there were 300 new confirmed cases per week. In September, this number rose to 700 per week. In October, it has climbed again to 900 new cases per week. And the number has risen even more over the past week. Cases among the elderly are also increasing.
All the measures will remain in effect until early December.
Alongside infection spread through private gatherings, we are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases as a result of increased labour immigration. This is partly due to the fact that some people have not been following the current rules. In addition, the serious infection situation in Europe means that there is a greater risk of imported infection, as the scheme that is currently in place exempts foreign workers from the duty of quarantine. That is why the Government is now tightening the rules for labour immigration:
- Foreign workers from countries classified as ‘red’ by the EU will no longer be exempt from the duty of quarantine. The EU defines countries as red if the number of newly notified COVID-19 cases is more than 150 per 100 000 people during a 14-day period, or if the 14-day cumulative coronavirus case notification rate is 50 or more per 100 000 people and 4 % or more of tests for coronavirus infection are positive. Foreign workers arriving in Norway from these countries must go into quarantine for 10 days and cannot start working until this quarantine period is over. This change will come into effect at midnight on Friday 30 October. It will not have retroactive effect
- Foreign workers from other countries may still be exempt from the duty of quarantine. But the rules for them are also being tightened: workers who are allowed to work but must be in quarantine during leisure time are to be tested once every three days and must be given accommodation in a single room for the first 10 days of their stay in Norway. The employer is now explicitly required to ensure that it is possible to maintain social distancing when undergoing quarantine during leisure time. These changes will not have retroactive effect.
- The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have now been tasked with reviewing the quarantine rules to assess the need for further clarification.