Norway's capital tightens lockdown to combat more contagious coronavirus variant

Shopping centres and other non-essential stores will be closed from noon local time on Jan 23.
Shopping centres and other non-essential stores will be closed from noon local time on Jan 23.PHOTO: REUTERS

OSLO (REUTERS) - Norway's capital Oslo and nine neighbouring municipalities will impose some of their toughest lockdown measures yet after an outbreak of a more contagious coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain, the government said on Saturday (Jan 23).

Shopping centres and other non-essential stores will be closed from noon local time on Saturday, for the first time in the pandemic, and will not reopen until Feb 1 at the earliest.

Shops selling food will remain open, along with pharmacies and petrol stations.

Organised sports activities will be halted, restaurants must close and schools must rely more on remote learning, while private households were asked not to have any visitors at home.

"Together we've managed to strike down the virus several time, and I'm convinced we can do so again," Health Minister Bent Hoeie told a news conference.