Norway may tighten national restrictions against virus, says health minister

FILE PHOTO: People walk on the street in Oslo
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OSLO (Reuters) - Norway may tighten national restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the country's health minister said on Tuesday.

The Nordic country has one of the lowest rates of infections in Europe but a recent resurgence in new cases, particularly in the capital Oslo where the more contagious variant first identified in Britain now dominates, is a cause for concern for authorities.

"We could be seeing the beginning of a third wave," Bent Hoeie told a news conference.

"We need to be prepared that the next two months can be quite tough," Hoeie said, adding it was crucial to keep the spreading of the virus under control.

Authorities will now distribute COVID-19 vaccines to municipalities in proportion to their population, rather than in relation to their proportion of elderly residents, which will give more vaccines to Oslo, Hoeie said.

Presently Norway is using the vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca - the latter for those under the age of 65.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said on Tuesday it would now consider whether to reverse its advice and give the AstraZeneca vaccine to those over the age of 65, given new research showing it could prove effective for those aged 65 years and over.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Nora Buli)