Norway to reassess national anti-virus measures in late March, says health minister

OSLO (Reuters) – Health Minister Bent Hoeie said Wednesday that the Norwegian government would reassess the national steps adopted to prevent the transmission of coronavirus in the second half of March.

Some steps include banning the use of alcohol at the end of 2200 CET bars and restaurants and requiring someone from abroad who has no property or can purchase a property in Norway to live in a quarantine hotel for at least one week.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Norway has the second-lowest incidence of new infections per 100,000 people in Europe, after Iceland.

Nevertheless, the authorities are troubled by a recent increase in cases in the capital city of Oslo and the Agder southern area, following a decline over several weeks.

Camilla Stoltenberg, the head of the Norwegian Center for Public Health told a news conference: "There is a strong possibility (in cases) that variants will increase.

On the vaccine front about 400,000 doses have been given so far in the country of 5.4 million residents, some 100,000 of whom are second doses.

Norway, a non-EU member of the European procurement scheme, collects its vaccines from nearby Sweden, which imports more than it wants and sends doses to Norway.

(Gwladys Fouche reporting; Victoria Klesty editing)