Norway to reinstate national measures as virus surges

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Norway will reintroduce nationwide measures to stem surging coronavirus cases, including authorising towns to use health passes, the government announced on Friday.

The Nordic country, which had lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in late September, will also propose a third vaccine dose for people over 18 but will not impose a new lockdown, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told a press conference.

"The wants to introduce new national measures to contain contagions," he said.

"However, we are not talking about confinements or measures as strict as we saw earlier in the pandemic."

The new measures include a requirement for adults who have been in contact with a positive case to be tested, and unvaccinated workers will have to be tested twice a week and wear masks.

Local restrictions had reappeared in recent days in Norway, with daily cases at around 1,500 in a country of 5.4 million people.

Europe is facing a sharp deterioration in the epidemic situation, especially in Germany and central and eastern Europe. Non-vaccinated people are the most affected.

The World Health Organization has warned that Europe is once again the "epicentre" of the pandemic.

Iceland also tightened its COVID rules on Friday for the second time since the start of the month, after it hit new records in daily infection rates earlier this week.

As of midnight, public gatherings will be limited to 50 people instead of the previous 500 on the island of some 375,000 inhabitants.

Swimming pools and sports halls will only be allowed to operate at 75 percent capacity.

Eighty-nine percent of Iceland's inhabitants aged over 12 have been vaccinated.

Around 36,000 of those have received a booster shot, and the government hopes to give 160,000 more people a third jab by the end of the year.

© 2021 AFP

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Iceland tightens COVID rules as cases surge


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