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Norway Tightens Virus Rules to Combat Surge in New Cases

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 10/26/2020 Lars Erik Taraldsen
a store front at night: A cyclist passes a bar in the Gronland neighborhood in Oslo on Sept. 23. © Photographer: Odin Jaeger/Bloomberg A cyclist passes a bar in the Gronland neighborhood in Oslo on Sept. 23.

(Bloomberg) -- Norway is tightening restrictions on households and foreign workers as part of a series of rule changes aimed at stemming a resurgence in coronavirus cases across the Nordic nation, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.

The country of 5.4 million people is currently facing the most serious threat from Covid-19 since the start of pandemic earlier this year, she told reporters in the capital, Oslo, on Monday. Taking action now is critical to combating a jump in new cases, Solberg said.

Among a series of changes expected to last until early December, the Norwegian government is further limiting the number of people from different households who can meet at home and recommending social gatherings are kept shorter and with fewer people. Quarantine rules for foreign workers are also being tightened, she said.

Norway, western Europe’s largest oil and gas producer, has seen a resurgence in new Covid-19 cases in recent weeks. From about 300 new cases a week in August, that number has jumped to about 900 so far in October. The nation has so far reported almost 18,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 279 fatalities.

The restrictions on foreign workers has led to a backlash from some labor groups, with Norsk Industri, which represents industrial employers, arguing that Norwegian businesses, and in particular the oil and gas industry, are already struggling to recruit enough skilled workers.

“This will make it a lot more demanding for companies in Norway,” Runar Rugtvedt, head of Norsk Industri’s oil and gas unit, said by phone. “There will be costs related to this, and it could affect the progress of ongoing projects.”

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