– If we together manage to follow the basic advice to be at home when we are sick and keep a good distance from others – in addition to limiting the number of people we have social contact with – we can get a reduction in infection rates that allows us celebrate a fairly normal Christmas with family and friends, says Espen Nakstad to ABC News.
On Monday, the government presented new measures against the coronavirus. The aim of the measures is to ensure as normal a Christmas celebration as possible. One of the measures is that in private homes one should not have more than five guests in addition to the household members.
If all the guests are from the same household, there can be several. This means that two families can meet even if they have many children.
In addition, it is encouraged not to have too many close contacts during a week.
– It is probably unfortunately necessary
The tightening is happening after the infection has increased steadily in Norway recently. Between Monday and Tuesday, a total of 433 cases of infection were registered. On Wednesday, a further 324 new cases of infection were reported.
Nakstad emphasizes that the infection does not increase as quickly in Norway as in many other European countries.
– The situation is not imminently dramatic yet, but if the infection continues to increase at the same pace as the last week, the situation may become more serious during the month of November. We risk that both the number of hospital admissions, the number of people in quarantine and the many negative societal effects of increased levels of infection will then become more relevant, says assistant health director Nakstad.
– Is the measure that you can not invite more than five guests from different households too intrusive?
– It is probably unfortunately necessary now to reduce the level of infection. But fortunately we have not found ourselves in a situation in Norway yet where we have to close schools, kindergartens or businesses, or introduce curfews and the like, as some other countries in Europe have to do.
Working to simplify advice
Nakstad says that he has a great understanding that the advice can be confusing and difficult to keep track of.
– We continue to work on simplifying advice and rules, he says.
The new measures came into force at midnight on Wednesday and will last until early December.
– We are facing the most serious situation of reversing the infection since March. If we take action now, there is a much greater chance that we can have a normal Christmas celebration with the extended family, said Prime Minister Erna Solberg when she presented the new measures on Monday.