Norway to start gradual easing of capital region’s lockdown on Feb 3

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OSLO, Jan 30 (Reuters) – The Norwegian government will gradually loosen the capital region’s coronavirus lockdown, allowing some shops and recreational activities to reopen from Feb. 3 onwards, Health Minister Bent Hoeie said on Saturday.

The outbreak of a more contagious variant of COVID-19, first identified in Britain, had prompted the introduction of stricter measures on Jan. 23, including the closure of all non-essential stores for the first time in the pandemic.

“Infections are going down continuously in Norway and we now have a better overview over the outbreak and spread,” Hoeie told a news conference.

The situation in and around the capital Oslo remains uncertain, however, and the easing will therefore be gradual, he added.

Stores that are not in shopping centres will be allowed to reopen on Wednesday, as will restaurants although alcohol cannot be served, it added.

Schools will also see fewer restrictions, allowing for more classroom teaching and bigger groups of students, although local conditions will apply. (Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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