Norway: semi-confinement decreed in Oslo after an outbreak of the English variant

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The Norwegian government announced on Saturday semi-containment measures, the strictest since the start of the epidemic, in Oslo and its region after the detection of cases of the English variant in a locality near the capital.

Shops and shopping centers closed excluding essential shops, travel and meals with friends not recommended, the possibility for municipalities to close schools, digital education for high schools are among the restrictions announced from Saturday for Oslo and nine municipalities in its metropolitan area.

“We have been implementing the most stringent measures since last March in ten municipalities. In some areas, we are even going even further than in March ”, noted the Minister of Health, Bent Høie, during a press conference, acknowledging that they would lead to“ a difficult daily life for many ”.

All public events, indoor and outdoor, will be canceled apart from funerals. Restaurants will be restricted to take-out.

These measures, in force at least until January 31, follow the detection of cases of the English variant of the coronavirus, more contagious, in a retirement home in the municipality of Nordre Follo, 30 km from Oslo.

This variant was found in two residents, who died, over 90 years old, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health announced on Friday. A total of 22 employees and 12 residents there contracted the coronavirus, without it being established at this stage that it is the same variant.

The health authorities are all the more worried that the origin of these cases has not yet been determined, no link with Great Britain having yet been able to be identified.

“We are doing what we can to stop this outbreak with strong measures, in order to quickly regain control and relax the harshest measures,” Høie explained on Saturday.

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