Norwegians should wear face masks on public transport in and around the capital, Oslo, amid a rise in COVID-19 cases, the government said on Friday, recommending wearing masks in public for the first time, APA reports citing Reuters.
“We recommend face masks as an extra precaution when it is difficult to maintain a distance of one metre (one yard) on public transport,” Health Minister Bent Hoie told a news conference.
Countries across Europe have introduced rules forcing people to wear face masks in places like shops and on public transport as economies open up again after long lockdowns.
The Nordic countries were, until recently, exceptions to that rule. But in recent days, authorities in Denmark and Finland have changed their views and now recommend their use in some circumstances.
Sweden, though, still sticks to the policy of not recommending wearing face masks, with its health agency casting doubt on their effectiveness.
On Thursday, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, said that countries had taken very different positions on face masks.
“But we know that countries having an increasing rate (of infection) like Spain, Belgium and others do have face mask regulations in place and they still have increases,” Tegnell told reporters.
“So I think it is very dangerous to believe that face masks will change the game when it comes to COVID-19.”
While Norway has seen local increases in infections, there is no sign of a nationwide surge, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said in a report released on Friday.