UPDATE 1-Norway PM: Celebrate Christmas, but ten guests at a time only

02 Dec 2020 / 19:18 H.

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    OSLO, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Norwegians can invite up to ten guests in their homes on two separate occasions between Christmas and New Year, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday.

    European countries are grappling with what guidance to give their inhabitants on how to celebrate Christmas and the New Year while trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

    "We do not wish to start the new year with rising infection numbers and new restrictions in January," Solberg told a news conference.

    Norway's 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants was 128.8 as of Tuesday, the fourth-lowest in Europe behind Iceland, Ireland and Finland, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

    Over the past two weeks, the number of weekly infections has declined nationwide, after they had been rising in the two weeks previously.

    The biggest source of concern for authorities is Oslo and its surrounding area, where there are most cases of COVID-19.

    On Nov. 6, Oslo shut theatres, cinemas, training centres and swimming pools, with bars and restaurants no longer able to serve alcohol, causing many to close altogether.

    Nationwide restrictions include limiting public gatherings to 20 people and quarantining people arriving from abroad. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Nora Buli)

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