PM Erna Solberg told Norwegians on Thursday to avoid traveling domestically and stay at home as the government imposes new restrictions amid rising coronavirus cases.
The country has long had one of the lowest rates of infections in Europe, but now it is seeing “a sharp increase in the number of people testing positive,” Solberg told parliament, adding that the situation is very serious. “We don’t have time to wait and see if the measures we introduced last week are enough.”
The government will impose further restrictions if necessary to avoid a collapse in health services, Solberg warned. “We are doing this… to avoid coming back to where we were in March.”
Authorities have urged Norwegians to stay at home as much as possible in the coming weeks and to limit their social interactions. Bars will now close at midnight.
The country’s death toll from Covid-19 stands at 282, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. It recorded 3,118 new coronavirus cases last week, up from 1,718 the week before. The previous peak was reported in the week March 16-22, with 1,733 cases.
Last week, the government tightened restrictions on gatherings and foreign workers entering Norway after a spike of coronavirus infections.
In late October, the government limited gatherings in private houses to five guests. The curbs will last until early December, but could be extended. Solberg said at the time that the measures should allow Norwegians to “celebrate Christmas as we usually do.”
Norway’s Foreign Ministry also advised against all international travel that is not strictly necessary until mid-January next year.
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