With the first COVID-19 case confirmed on 26 February, there are now some 5200 persons infected in all regions of Norway and the virus has already claimed 50 lives.

The country is in quarantine at least over the Easter holiday, through 13 April. The measures introduced by the Norwegian Government to combat the coronavirus outbreak are the strongest and most sweeping our country has seen in peacetime. But combined with the quality medical care, they seem to have been helping us “flatten the curve” and not stretch beyond the capacity of the Norwegian healthcare system.

The Norwegian economy, however, is being hit extremely hard – not just by the coronavirus outbreak but also by the dramatic drop in oil prices. Hundreds of thousands of people (more than 10% of Norway’s labour force) have lost their jobs or were temporarily laid off – the highest number we have seen since the World War II. The Norwegian Government has adopted unprecedented measures to curb the financial impact of the pandemic on Norwegian businesses and people, and continues expanding them.

At the same time, Norway is allocating billions of NOK for the international effort to develop vaccines against the coronavirus and is further strengthening humanitarian efforts to help battle the pandemic around the globe.

Though life on streets seems nearly stalled, like in Lithuania, the flow of information and new regulations directly affecting our life and work is overwhelming. To keep up with the latest on Norway’s fight with the pandemic, please check the main Government news and follow advice and information by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. On all travel matters, see the information from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and if you need to enter or exit Lithuania, please consult with the latest information from the Lithuanian authorities.

Needless to say, do not hesitate to reach out to the Norwegian Embassy in Vilnius or our Honorary Consuls in Kaunas and Klaipėda if you need assistance. In this situation, some problems might be beyond our power to solve but we will do the best we can to help.

We of course also follow closely the situation in Lithuania. The actions taken here are in many ways similar to what we are doing in Norway, and together I am sure we will overcome the huge challenges ahead of us.

This is a challenging time for all of us – personally and professionally. But this too shall pass. Until then, many will stay home and let all of us stay safe.