Norway imposes tougher measures to curb COVID surge

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Norway will temporarily ban alcohol sales in bars and restaurants as part of tougher measures aimed at stemming a surge in coronavirus cases, the government announced Tuesday.

Under rules to take effect from early Thursday through April 12, Norway will also require people returning or arriving from abroad to quarantine for 10 days at a designated , it added.

"The most important thing is that at Easter one travels as little as possible and that one meets as few people as possible to prevent the virus from spreading," Health Minister Bent Hoie told a press conference.

Although Norway has registered one of the lowest infection rates in Europe, it is seeing a surge with the more contagious British variant.

This has forced the authorities to tighten the screws before the Easter Holiday, when Norwegians often travel to mountain chalets.

Though such travel is not banned, the government has adopted stricter curbs, such as limiting to two the number of guests people can receive in their homes.

It is also requiring people to increase social distancing from one to two metres.

And it is banning temporarily the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants—establishments which are widely closed in Oslo but open in some other parts of the country.

Gyms and public swimming pools will be closed as well.

People returning from a non-essential trip abroad will now have to spend their quarantine of 10 days in hotels dedicated for that purpose. Until now, they could leave the hotel after three days if they tested negative for COVID-19.

© 2021 AFP

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