Norway on Friday recommended commuters using public transport to wear face masks during during rush hours in the capital region of Oslo in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.
The measure was necessary since many people were as of this coming Monday expected to return to work or school after their summer holidays, Health Minister Bent Hoie told a press conference.
The government and health authorities earlier encouraged people to work remotely and change their working hours, where possible, to avoid congestion on public transport.
"A face mask does not replace the recommendation to keep a distance of at least 1 metre to others. Distance offers better protection than face masks," Hoie said.
The face mask recommendation was initially to be in effect for 14 days and applied for travel within Oslo, and journeys to and from Oslo, and parts of the south-western Ostfold region where case numbers have risen.
Masks not for schools
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health that provided guidelines said it did not recommend the use of face masks at schools or kindergartens.
Norway has had relatively low infection rates, but has seen increasing case numbers in recent weeks.
The Scandinavian country had on Friday recorded 261 coronavirus-related deaths and 9,850 infections.
Another Nordic country, Finland, on Thursday recommended citizens wear face masks when using public transport or in crowded spaces.