Updated Corona in the Arctic: Far Fewer Travel from South to North

Tromsø view. Photo: Svein-Magne Tunli / tunliweb.no

High North News continues its update about the spreading of the coronavirus in the Arctic. Far fewer trips are carried out from south to north in Norway after several municipalities in northern Norway introduced extra quarantine measures. – What we know is that traffic in the north has been reduced significantly. We do not know what the situation would have been if these measures had not been implemented, says Mayor Gunnar Wilhelmsen to High North News.

Gunnar Wilhelmsen
Gunnar Wilhelmsen (Ap) ordfører i Tromsø. (Foto: Ellen Victoria Jenssen)
Tromsø Mayor Gunnar WIlhelmsen

Tromsø Mayor Gunnar Wilhelmsen (Labor) argues that the situation in Northern Norway could have a been a quite different one if local municipalities had not taken extra measures.

“We want to place those who do not hold positions critical to society, arriving to Tromsø from southern Norway, in quarantine. What we do know, is that traffic in the north is significantly reduced and there are far fewer travelers. We do not know what the situation would have been like if these measures had not been taken”, Mayor Wilhelmsen says to High North News.

How do business and industries respond to the measures Tromsø has initiated?

“I have not received any negative feedback from businesses about the measures we have implemented. They understand them. Businesses want measures to be taken so that we can return to a normal situation as soon as possible”, he says.

Where is the pain threshold for arguing that there is better control with the infection situation in the High North than in the south?

“The current situation is that we have fewer infected persons here than in the rest of the country. We have tested some 3 percent of Tromsø’s population, compared to the rest of the country, where about 1 percent has been tested. We have a lower infection rate than Oslo."

One patient at Tromsø University Hospital, Norway, died from Covid-19 last night, bringing Tromsø’s corona death toll to two. Tromsø is on an average of 0.30 infected per 1,000 inhabitants, whereas Oslo is at 0.95.

“For the times ahead, we have to keep up the good work. We have some challenges when it comes to protective gear and equipment, however, the government has promised that this will be solved soon. The other thing is that as the weeks proceed, we accumulate more fact-based knowledge so that the measures can become more precise”, he says in closing.

Total number of confirmed occurences of corona infection in the High North

Total number of confirmed cases of corona infection in Arctic Council Member States


This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.