Norway announces alcohol ban, other curbs, to prevent Omicron spread
As part of new efforts to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid virus, Norway has decided to ban serving alcohol in pubs and restaurants, apart from imposing strict rules in schools and speeding up vaccination in the country.
New COVID-19 rules will prohibit the sale of alcohol at bars, restaurants, and other service-based venues from Wednesday—which will reportedly last for over 4 weeks— while Norwegians are also being urged to work from home if possible.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store warned of a “serious” situation where the Delta variant and the highly transmissible Omicron strain would create “a total saturation of the health system”.
“For many, this will feel like a lockdown, if not of society then of their lives and of their livelihoods,” Store said at a news conference on Monday.
“The situation is serious. The spread of infection is too high, and we have to take action to limit this development ... Omicron changes the rules,” he said.
Norway has registered record numbers of cases and hospital admissions in recent days, detecting 958 Omicron infections on Monday, of which 472 were in the capital Oslo, reports news agency AFP.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that coronavirus cases in Europe were on the rise including deaths.
On December 7, the Norwegian government introduced a cap on the number of visitors allowed in private homes and shortened the hours at bars and restaurants.
Britain on Monday recorded the first publicly confirmed death globally from the swiftly spreading strain.