Boozing Students Spark Covid-19 Concerns in Norway

Norway’s government has appealed to students and other young people to be more respectful of social distancing in order to quell a resurgence in the spread of Covid-19 and avoid a fresh lockdown.

New cases of coronavirus are on the rise in the Nordic country, with people in their twenties showing the highest increase, according to official figures. About 300,000 students are going to university this week, sparking concerns that contagion will be boosted by back-to-school parties. Norway has been one of the first countries in Europe to lift restrictions introduced to contain the pandemic.

“Many are getting infected at inebriated parties with too many people and too little distancing,” Health Minister Bent Hoie said at press conference in Oslo on Tuesday. “If contagion increases a lot, we will need to shut down the country again. No young people want that.”

In Oslo, the capital, police said they are doubling down on enforcing a ban on alcohol consumption in public spaces, while the municipality will dispatch guards to parks.

Norway, which has a population of about 5.4 million, still has relatively low contagion numbers, with a total of less than 9,700 confirmed cases and 256 deaths, according to latest figures from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Yet it’s seen a resurgence in reported cases, especially this month, in part due to citizens going on holiday abroad. Norway has tightened quarantine rules for travel to several European countries in the past days.

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