OSLO (NORWAY) – After an outbreak of the more contagious variant of coronavirus , first identified in Britain, Norway’s capital Oslo along with nine neighbouring municipalities have come under the toughest lockdown measures yet on Saturday.
Shopping centres and other non-essential stores will be closed from noon, for the first time in the pandemic, and will not reopen until Feb. 1 at the earliest.
Shops selling food will remain open, along with pharmacies and petrol stations.
Authorities have decided to curb organised sports activities, restaurants must close and schools must rely more on remote learning, while households have been asked to discourage visitors.
“Together we’ve managed to strike down the virus several times, and I’m convinced we can do so again,” Health Minister Bent Hoeie told a news conference.
Norway has imposed some of the toughest travel restrictions in Europe, and recently introduced mandatory COVID-19 testing at its borders. Data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health showed, the country has so far identified 55 cases of the virus variant that has already spread widely in Britain.
Norway received news on Friday it would receive only 18% of the vaccine doses it had anticipated from AstraZeneca in February – 200,000 doses instead of the planned 1.12 million.
The nation of 5.4 million has vaccinated close to 72,000 people by Thursday, with a first dose, and nearly 1,900 have received two doses, according to data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.