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Norway enacts new restrictions as coronavirus surges

Norway enacts new restrictions as coronavirus surges
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Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced new coronavirus restrictions for the country as it attempts to stop a third wave of cases.

Reuters reports the new restrictions include nationwide a ban on alcohol being served in restaurants and bars, as well as an advisory against having any guests over.

“We see more signs of a new wave of infections,” Solberg said during a news conference.

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According to Reuters, Solberg said Norwegians must put their social lives on hold for the next two weeks.

“I ask you not to have any visitors at home. Wait a fortnight before inviting anyone home or visiting others,” she added.

These new restrictions come only one day after the country shut down university lectures and instructed students to stay home. Shops, kindergartens, elementary schools will remain open, Reuters notes.

On New Year's Eve, the Norwegian government announced mandatory testing for travelers arriving in Norway, required to be done within 24 hours of arrival.

In the announcement, Solberg said, "We are now concerned about import infection as well as new outbreaks with new mutated versions of the virus. In addition, we are concerned that many will return to Norway after Christmas from countries with an increased level of infection."

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Norway has confirmed 48,278 coronavirus cases so far and 436 deaths. On Dec. 29, the country broke its record for single day cases, reporting 2,125 coronavirus infections.

"The Government has been forced to take decisions very quickly," Solberg said in her New Year's address, reflecting back on 2020. "Often in situations fraught with uncertainty. We did not get everything right on our first try. But we have revised our decisions to incorporate what we are learning along the way."

Norway's health minister, Bent Hoeie, said at the beginning of December that the country planned on using the vaccines from Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer and BioNTech in the first quarter of 2021. Norway is reportedly seeking to immunize a quarter of its population in the first three months of 2021.