News Coronavirus Norway cuts alcohol, closes gyms to beat Omicron threat

Norway cuts alcohol, closes gyms to beat Omicron threat

norway omicron rules
Norway will reintroduce a range of restrictions at it battles surging cases of COVID-19 Photo: Getty
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Norway will further tighten restrictions and speed up vaccination to try to limit an expected surge of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere says.

Presenting its fourth round of measures in two weeks, the government announced a ban on serving alcohol in bars and restaurants, a closing of gyms and swimming pools to most users, and stricter rules in schools, among other things.

“There is no doubt – the new variant changes the rules. That’s why we need to act fast and we need to act again,” Mr Stoere said on Monday (local time).

“For many this will feel like a lockdown, if not of society then of their lives and of their livelihoods.”

Norway’s move came after Britain on Monday confirmed the first publicly confirmed death globally from the swiftly spreading strain.

To speed up vaccination with booster doses, the Norwegian government said the armed forces, as well as pharmacies, would assist in the inoculation campaign.

At the same time, quarantines would apply more widely, the government said.

Norway is setting record highs in terms of COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations, partly due to the spread of Omicron, which is expected to become the dominant variant in coming days.

“A lack of action now could lead to large negative consequences for society, not just for health services and municipalities,” the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said.

Unless effective measures were established, the nation of 5.4 million people risked having between 90,000 and 300,000 daily COVID-19 cases from early January, it said.