Norway to impose fresh restrictions following surge in coronavirus cases

A patient with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet, in Oslo, Norway.

Norway will impose fresh restrictions to prevent a resurgence in the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Sunday, including a nationwide ban on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars and not inviting guests home.

The Nordic country has seen a rise in cases over the past month and now estimates that one sick person infects 1.3 person on average, authorities have said.

“We see more signs of a new wave of infections,” Solberg told a news conference, citing Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations and the emergence of the more contagious variant of the virus first identified in Britain among the reasons.

So in order not to have an epidemic that is “out of control”, Norwegians must suspend their social lives for the next two weeks, Solberg said

Already on Saturday, the government said lectures at universities would be suspended until January 18, with the government asking students to stay home and not return to their campuses during that time.

And on Thursday, Oslo imposed mandatory COVID-19 tests for all people arriving in Norway upon arrival or within 24 hours to stop the spread of the coronavirus variant detected first in Britain.

Small border crossings have been shut as they do not have capacity to have COVID-19 test centres and more military personnel will man the border with Finland in the Arctic.

Norway’s 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants was at 113.6 in the week December 21-27, the fourth lowest in Europe behind Iceland, Greece and Finland, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has said.

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