Norway PM says will not ease COVID-19 restrictions yet

FILE PHOTO: Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaks during a news conference in Oslo, Norway June 26, 2020. Hakon Mosvold Larsen/ NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS/File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway will not yet ease restrictions designed to counter the novel coronavirus even though the spread has been slower recently, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Friday.

“Even if the infection numbers are coming down, we can’t say that we have landed safely yet... we have to be sure that we maintain control,” Solberg told a news conference.

To prevent a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, the country halted its planned easing of restrictions earlier this month, and imposed new measures such a ban on bars to serve alcohol after midnight.

Events with more than 200 participants will still be banned, distancing rules in theatres kept intact and sports activities for adults limited, Solberg said.

“I realise many are disappointed, but we do this to maintain control of the spread of the disease,” she added.

The level of infections is however currently considered “low,” Health Minister Bent Hoeie said.

The country of 5.4 million diagnosed 356 people with COVID-19 last week, and the weekly figures have been considerably higher in August than in the preceding three months, FHI data showed.

(This story corrects spelling of “though” in 1st paragraph)

Reporting by Victoria Klesty, editing by Terje Solsvik