ALERT – SCHOOLS, CULTURAL AND SPORTS EVENTS, MANY BUSINESSES HALTED IN NORWAY DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: Measures in effect as of 6 p.m. Thursday for at least two weeks

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A wave of new closures and restrictions affecting nearly all businesses and institutions in Norway due to the coronavirus was announced Thursday afternoon by Prime Minister Erna Solberg and other top officials. Effective as of 6 p.m. for at least the next two weeks, all educational institutions, sports and recreational events, fitness centers, businesses offering body services such as haircuts and skin care, and pubs that don’t serve food are closed.

Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open, as will restaurants with additional food handling restrictions.

Also, all people arriving in Norway from anyway other than Nordic countries since Feb. 27 will be subject to mandatory quarantine.

“The drastic measures we are now taking are in the hope of stopping the virus,” Solberg said. “We are doing this in solidarity with the elderly, the chronically ill, and others who are particularly at risk of developing a serious illness. We must protect ourselves to protect others.”

There were 703 coronavirus cases in Norway at the time of the press conference. Between 22,000 and 30,000 people may eventually be hospitalised as a result of infection, with up to 7,600 requiring intensive treatment, said Camilla Stoltenberg, division director for the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The new measures include:

• Closure of all schools, kindergartens and universities

• Requiring primary schools and kindergartens to stay partially open to care for children of key personnel in healthcare, transport and other critical social functions.

• Cultural events, sports events, gyms, and businesses offering hairdressing, skincare, massage, body care and tattooing are all banned. Swimming pools will be closed.

• Pubs that do not serve food will be closed. Eateries remaining open will be prohibited from serving buffets and other food provided to customers out in the open. All guests should be able to sit at least one meter away from each other.

• The retroactive quarantine applies regardless of whether people have symptoms of the virus.

• Restrictions on visitors to all the country’s health facilities. People are asked not to visit institutions housing vulnerable groups such as the elderly, psychiatry and prisons.

• Healthcare professionals working with patients are banned from travelling abroad.

 

(This is a breaking story with updates in progress.) 

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Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic
Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic
Oslo University will be closed. Photo: Mahlum/Wikimedia Commons
The Local
news@thelocal.no
@thelocalnorway
12 March 202014:17 CET+01:00
Norway is shutting down all schools, kindergartens and universities in the country in what Prime Minister Erna Solberg called “the most far-reaching measures we have ever had in peacetime in Norway”.
“All the country’s kidnergartens, schools, primary schools, secondary schools, technical colleges and universities are to be closed,” Solberg confirmed at a press conference held at her cabinet office on Thursday, according to a report by state broadcaster NRK.

The measures, laid out in detail on the website of Norway’s Health Ministry, also require everyone who has arrived in Norway from anywhere apart from the Nordic countries since February 27 to go into compulsory quarantine.

Solberg said that though difficult, the measures were necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“We are in a difficult time, both for Norway and for the world,” she said, according to the VG newspaper, conceding that the measures would could hardship and inconvenience.

“The drastic measures we are now taking are in the hope of stopping the virus. We are doing this in solidarity with the elderly, the chronically ill, and others who are particularly at risk of developing a serious illness. We must protect ourselves to protect others.”

She warned employees suddenly faced with unexpected childcare demands not to call on elderly relatives who are especially vulnerable to the virus.

“We must remind you who we should most be watching out for. We should therefore not hand over childcare to grandparents in the risk category.”

Camilla Stoltenberg, Division Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, estimated at the briefing that between 22,000 and 30,000 people could be hospitalised as a result of infection, with up to 7,600 requiring intensive treatment.

The measures include.
Closure of all schools, kindergartens and universities
A provision requiring primary schools and kindergartens to stay partially open in order to look after the children of key personnel in healthcare, transport and other critical social functions.
Cultural events, sports events, gyms and businesses offering hairdressing, skincare, massage, body care and tattooing are all banned. Swimming pools will be closed.

A requirement for everyone arriving in Norway from outside the Nordic to enter quarantine, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. This is retroactive to 27 February.
Restrictions on visitors to all the country’s health facilities and the introduction of access control
People are asked not to visit institutions housing vulnerable groups (elderly, psychiatry, prison etc)
Healthcare professionals working with patients are banned from travelling abroad.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
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