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The bus company followed the rules – still 31 became infected – NRK Rogaland – Local news, TV and radio

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On Tuesday came the news that 31 out of 40 pensioners have received detected covid-19 after a bus trip in southern Norway. The majority of those infected are from Nord-Jæren. On Wednesday, two more cases of infection occurred, so that the total number is 33. All those infected are in isolation, while the other bus passengers are in quarantine.

People should think carefully before taking such a bus trip now, advises Hans Petter Torvik, municipal chief physician in Sandnes.

The trip is well documented on the bus company’s Facebook page, where they also wrote at one point that everything happens according to the “corona recipe”. NRK knows the name of the company.

40 people were present, not 41, as first announced.

The general manager of the bus company does not want to comment on the matter to NRK, and refers to the municipal superior in Sandnes.

– I can confirm that they have complied with the infection control rules, says Torvik.

– They hoisted themselves around

The bus has 55 seats. In the travel party of 40, couples sat together and singles alone.

– Are the infection control rules good enough, when this can happen when the rules are followed?

– It is clear that one can ask questions about whether the guidelines nationally should be stricter than they are at the moment, Torvik says.

Hans Petter Torvik, municipal chief physician in Sandnes.

Photo: Mathias Oppedal / NRK

Torvik also emphasizes that the company reacted correctly when the infection became known and they immediately contacted Stavanger municipality for testing.

– That they hoisted themselves around and got to test everyone on the bus, without anyone getting off, meant that they most likely prevented a much larger outbreak, says the municipal chief.

Be a passenger

Ingrid Strand Bøe from Stavanger was on the trip. She already had good experiences with the organizer.

Strand Bøe thinks it is nice to be able to travel in Norway when you can not go outside the country’s borders. Before the trip, she perceived it as safe to travel.

– If the authorities allow travel and round trips in Norway, then it must be okay to travel. If it is dangerous to travel on such trips, it should be a ban, she says.

Consequences along the tour route

The trip through Eastern Norway, Dovre and Western Norway started on Tuesday 15 September. The travel party visited a number of attractions and six accommodations. Among them is Thon Hotel Sandven in Nordheimsund.

– We have contacted the municipal chief and have agreed that those who have been in contact with these guests will be quarantined, says hotel director Arnstein Birkeland.

So far, this applies to six employees. The hotel will investigate whether more people may have had contact with the bus company.

Åkrafjordtunet closed

The pensioners also visited Åkrafjordtunet in Etne. The passengers stayed in the cafe between 2 pm and 3 pm on Monday. Until further notice, the café is closed and the premises are being washed down. Employees who were at work are in quarantine.

The Eidsvoll building

EIDSVOLL: Among the stops in Eastern Norway was the Eidsvollsbygningen. Then the trip went north past Dovre.

Photo: Anikken Mihle / NRK

Etne municipality now encourages people who were in the cafe or shop during this time to get in touch. Mayor Mette Heidi Bergsvåg says they work with infection tracking.

– Åkrafjordtunet is located along the E134, which is a heavily trafficked European road between Haugesund and Oslo. It is a popular place to stop to eat and buy locally sourced food. It is clear that many may have stopped by that we have no control over, she says.

FHI does not advise against bus trips

NRK has asked the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) if they would advise against bus trips. Department director Line Vold answers that people in risk groups themselves must if they want to participate in contexts where they meet many.

– There will always be some risk of infection, even where risk-reducing measures are taken, she says.

– Is it possible to travel around like this, and still comply with the infection control rules?

– It probably depends on many factors. In any case, it requires special vigilance and good planning from both organizers and participants, says Vold.


TROLLSTIGEN: Møre og Romsdal also had a visit from the bus. Afterwards, it passed Førde, Nordheimsund and Åkrafjorden.

Photo: Gunnar Sandvik / NRK

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