OSLO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Norwegians should wear face masks
on crowded public transport, in shopping malls and in taxis
following a record surge in coronavirus infections, Prime
Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on Tuesday.
He stopped short of issuing mask mandates, as called for by
some municipalities, urging instead an accelerated drive to give
booster shots to all adults.
"Vaccination is key to our COVID-19 strategy," Stoere told
parliament. "We can avoid a lockdown."
Daily infections have averaged 2,642 people in the last
seven days in Norway, the highest on record, up from 2,145 in
the preceding seven-day period, government figures show.
Face masks were not proposed for night clubs, concert halls
or other entertainment venues, as such recommendations could
hurt the economy while having limited impact on the spread of
the virus, Stoere later told a news conference.
But he said the discovery earlier this month of the Omicron
variant had added to uncertainty.
"We will introduce stricter measures if necessary," he said.
Norway in September ended all domestic coronavirus
restrictions, but opposition parties in recent days have called
on the government to act to prevent the spread of the virus and
thus avoid a hard lockdown of society.
The centre-left minority government on Monday said it would
seek to limit any potential spread of the Omicron variant,
including by imposing longer isolation https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/norway-seeks-slow-down-any-omicron-spread-government-says-2021-11-29
on those found to have been infected.
While 88% of adults in Norway have received at least two
vaccine doses against COVID-19, and 71% of the overall
population has been inoculated, hospitalisations and mortality
The government on Nov. 12 said it would offer booster
vaccine shots https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/norway-plans-third-covid-19-vaccine-dose-all-adults-2021-11-12
to everyone aged 18 and older and give municipalities the
option of using digital "corona passes", but this has not halted
the rise of infection.
Norway uses vaccines made by BioNTech, Pfizer
and Moderna in its national rollout, which
since September has included everyone aged 12 and over.
(Editing by Alex Richardson and Barbara Lewis)