How Norway Got Sucker Punched By The Coronavirus and Completely Shut Down

We were all minding our own business when all of a sudden our country was flipped upside down

Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

We Norwegians were acting like we always do. No need to worry about that virus. Everything is going to be fine. A few days passed and it was absolutely not fine. The virus came swinging and hit is from the side.

Our infection rate skyrocketed and we saw numbers worse than Italy had only days prior. On February 25th, we had 0 registered incidents. On March 3rd, there were 32. Six days later, March 9th, 227. A shocking four days followed where we went from 227 to 996

Almost half of the infected, 377, can be traced back to Austria,137 from Italy and 156 from Norway. This means that the virus has started to get a hold of the country and is spreading internally.

How to Shut Down Norway

Just a few days ago, we were riding the bus to work, picked up a coffee from the local coffee shop along the way and had lunch together. Now, the streets are empty, you brew your own coffee and the government has shut down as much as they can.

We saw Italy do it. They started with the north and then the rest of the country followed. Denmark was one of the first nordic countries to shut down the schools and borders.

It started slowly here as well. Here is a timeline of how Norway was shut down:

Photo by Jose Fontano on Unsplash

Feb 28th — Feb 29th:

  • News about an infected doctor who went to work at Oslo’s main hospital emerge.
  • Both co-workers and students who have been there are infected and quarantined.

March 1st:

  • All health care personnel who have been abroad will go into a 14-day quarantine automatically upon arrival.

March 3rd:

  • Flights abroad are being canceled.
  • Travels to Northern Italy publically advised against.

March 12th:

From March 3rd to March 12, we see a variety of measures taking place. March 12 is the date where we see the most drastic actions taken.

  • Fist, and only so far, corona-related death registered.
  • From March 12th to March 26th all schools, kindergartens, universities and other educational institutions are closed.
  • All sports, indoors and outdoors, are forbidden and closed.
  • Swimming pools and other activity centers are closed.
  • All cultural activities, like concerts, are forbidden and closed.
  • Services, like hairdressers, salons, tattoo shops, and others working with skincare and similar are closed.
  • Gyms are closed.
  • Personnel working in health care are forbidden to leave the country, both for work and private.
  • Public transport remains active, but the drivers are separated physically from the rest of the passengers. It is part of the infrastructure we need even in a matter of crisis.
  • Everyone entering the country from abroad, except from the nordic countries, will automatically get a 14-day quarantine.

March 13th:

  • The government starts setting up financial support for businesses suffering from the outbreak.
  • Airports start to shut down
  • Foreigners coming in from abroad will be sent back or directly into quarantine for 14 days before they can travel in Norway.

What Now?

The streets are empty and the state of mind has shifted. It feels like everyone is infected until proven you are not. We keep a distance of at least one meter. Everyone who is able to will be working from home. All the children are home from school and kindergarten so parents have to stay home anyway. It is a mix of trying to work and take care of your children at the same time.

It is NOT a holiday. There will be digital online tutoring where the students get lectures on their iPad. Universities will broadcast lectures and deliveries will have the same deadlines. Exams are canceled because that means you gather hundreds of students, but home exams are still operational.

We can still be outdoors, but try to stay away from other people. We are advised against arranging play dates and asked to stay home as much as possible.

Day by day we get updated information from the government and the news. We still have problems with people who ignore their quarantine and infect other people. Small cabin communities have problems with people coming in from the cities. The capacity is too low and people bring their infection to these smaller communities. Parties are still happening (God knows where the parents of these youths are…) and the police beg them to stop.

Because of the Norwegian selfishness where people ignore these measures, we will most likely start seeing harder actions taken against this behavior. Fines will be a natural step to expect. Break the quarantine, pay a fine. The police, or army, might be allowed to stop people from visiting these cabin communities and if all else fails, we might have to do like the Italians, curfew…

Buckle up, the same restrictions will come to your country as well. If you have not already experienced it, it is most likely because your country is a bit behind. It is time to get remote work setup working and consider if you really need to go to that event.


Written by

CG supervisor with 17 years of experience in the Animation- and VFX industry. Studying Design, Use and Interaction (UX) at the University of Oslo

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