By Russell Bruce
The Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has this afternoon given a remarkable press conference to announce the most drastic emergency measures ever introduced in Norway outside of wartime in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Millions of Norwegians and foreigners living in or visiting Norway will be impacted by a drastic set of measures announced today. Norway is essentially shutting itself down for two weeks, in a bid to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 disease.
More than 700 people have been infected in Norway, a number that has drastically increased in the last 48 hours. Although at the time of writing no-one has yet died in Norway from the disease, the country’s leaders say this is inevitable.
All schools, kindergartens and universities are to close. Most public events are banned. Bars and restaurants will be closed. Most relevant to readers of Life in Norway is perhaps the most dramatic measure of all. Anyone who has travelled outside the Nordic countries since 27 February faces a compulsory home quarantine for 14 days.
David Nikel of Life in Norway writes: “I know a lot of people in Norway will be concerned about the latest coronavirus news, along with people planning a trip. So, here’s everything you need to know about the spread of the virus, the COVID-19 outbreak, and how Norway is reacting. I’ll do my best to keep this page up-to-date in the days and weeks to come, but do check the various links for the very latest information.”
Those wanting to follow the news on Norway’s rapid shutdown and how this might arrest the progress of Covid19 can use this link.
Air travel in Norway and across Europe is being disrupted as a drop in demand sees flights cancelled by most major airlines. SAS cancelled 2,000 flights in March, while Norwegian has announced 3,000 cancellations between mid-March and mid-June.
Denmark has already taken action to close schools and universities. It is important decision makers in the UK keep a close watch on the experience of our Nordic neighbours. Our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has taken on the role of keeping people informed on Covid19 given ponderous progress at Westminster.
‘Get Brexit done Johnson’ is not getting Covid19 done. The UK may not quite at the Norwegian stage but today’s Cobra meeting is already history.
Newsnet acknowledges Life in Norway as our source and the image the Norwegian flag
Update 21.00 12th March
France and Ireland have joined Italy, Denmark and Norway in closing schools. School closures have massive implications. Easter holidays are coming. Scottish schools are due to close on 3rd April.
China is supplying Covid19 experts and equipment to Italy to help with the emergency there.
The Greens have cancelled their Spring Conference