March 14, 2020 / 5:35 PM / 24 days ago

Norway to close ports, airports from Monday to stop coronavirus - PM

FILE PHOTO: Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway is to shut its ports and airports from Monday in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, although exemptions will be made for Norwegians returning from abroad as well as for goods, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Saturday.

The government is ready to do all that is needed to secure the economy, which has been hit by business shutdowns due to the virus outbreak, and will seek to import medical equipment from China, Solberg told a news conference.

“We’ve decided to shut our airports, close our ports and implement extensive controls along our border,” Solberg said.

Planes carrying Norwegian citizens will still be able to land in Norway, and the government is negotiating with Norwegian Air and SAS to bring nationals home, she said.

The transport of goods to and from Norway will also continue, she later added.

The Nordic country will implement extensive controls of its land entry points, but will not shut its 1,630-kilometre (1,000-mile) border with neighbouring Sweden, she said.

Norway recorded its second and third deaths linked to coronavirus on Saturday, Norwegian news agency NTB said. The official number of infected persons has risen to around 950.

Reporting by Victoria Klesty and Terje Solsvik Writing by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Mike Harrison and James Drummond

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