Norway says it has coronavirus outbreak ‘under control’

OSLO (AFP) – Norway said Monday (April 6) it considered the coronavirus outbreak to be “under control” in the country, but cautioned it was too early to say if restrictions could be lifted.

The government said the reproduction rate – the number of new people infected by each patient with the virus – had fallen to 0.7.

A man wears a face mask while walking on the streets of Oslo, on March 13, 2020.
A man wears a face mask while walking on the streets of Oslo, on March 13, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

That was down from 2.5 when containment measures, such as banning sports and cultural events and the closing of all educational institutions, were introduced in mid-March.

“This means that we have brought the coronavirus infection under control,” Health Minister Bent Hoie told reporters.

But he added it was still necessary to keep regulations to contain the outbreak in place. “The measures have led to us getting a solid upper hand. We have to keep that,” the minister said.

But the director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Camilla Stoltenberg, said there was still uncertainty over the accuracy of the reproduction rate.

Still, she conceded “there has been a positive development” in the data in recent weeks.

On March 12, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced what she dubbed “the strongest and most intrusive measures” the country had seen in “peacetime.”

Bars were closed across the country, along with public swimming pools, gyms, hairdressers and massage and tattoo parlours.

Restaurants were permitted to remain open but can no longer serve buffets and are required to ensure that guests can keep a minimum distance of one metre from each other.

In addition, the government said all people returning from trips outside the Nordic region would be quarantined for two weeks.

However, open-air walks and jogging, for example, are still allowed, and most shops and businesses are still open.

As of Monday, the Nordic country had 5,755 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 59 deaths.

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