HELSINKI — Norway says its capital, Oslo, and nine municipalities have been placed under strict restrictions to contain the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus first detected in Britain.
The Norwegian government said shopping centers and other non-essential stores in those regions were closed at noon on Saturday, and would remain shut at least until Jan. 31.
In addition, organized sports activities were halted, schools were ordered to rely increasingly on remote teaching and households were requested to not invite visitors home in those areas.
Norwegian health officials say the Scandinavian country of 5.4 million has so far identified 55 cases of the virus variant which has spread widely in Britain.
Neighboring Sweden, where the coronavirus outbreak is substantially worse than in Norway, said late Saturday that it was planning to launch a temporary entry ban from Norway due to the new variant.