Kids return to school in Norway

Norway, which says it has the new coronavirus epidemic under control, reopened primary schools to the youngest students on Monday, in another step toward a gradual normalization, though some parents expressed concern.

One week after nursery schools, pupils aged six to 10 started returning to their school desks after six weeks of remote learning from home in the Nordic country.

Classes were however reduced to a maximum of 15 students.

Norway has progressively begun lifting restrictions imposed on March 12 to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Hair salons and dermatologists were also authorised to resume business.

Many measures remain in place, such as bans on sporting and cultural events, as well as social distancing and hygiene recommendations.

“We should not let down our guard, we have to work hard to keep the spread under control,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Friday.

“If we’re not careful, this could have serious consequences for others. In the worst of cases, we’ll have to tighten restrictions again. We’ll have to make sure to avoid that.”

Some parents however find the return to school premature, noting that several staff at nursery schools have tested positive for the virus since they went back last week.

“It wouldn’t surprise me that it gets worse when the schools reopen,” one user wrote on the Facebook page “My child should not be a guinea pig for COVID-19” that has almost 30,000 members.

By Sunday, Norway had reported 7,505 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 193 deaths, while the curve of hospitalised cases has dropped significantly in recent weeks. (AFP)