March 18, 2020 / 4:16 PM / in 12 days

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Norway's government seeks extra powers to deal with coronavirus

(Corrects day in final paragraph)

OSLO, March 18 (Reuters) - Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday her government would propose emergency legislation granting it the right to make decisions without consulting parliament to deal with the coronavirus.

“We see the need for new measures. Parliament works fast but it takes time. And we need to act fast in this crisis,” Solberg told a news conference.

The legislation, to be presented to parliament on Thursday, would be valid for six months and would cover only matters related to handling the coronavirus outbreak, she said.

It would permit the requisition of buildings to house patients or to allow annual general meetings to go ahead without those involved attending in person, justice minister Monica Maeland said.

The government said the powers could be used widely.

“We do not know in what context they will be used. We will have to see from case to case,” Maeland said.

Solberg heads a minority centre-right government. It was not immediately clear whether she had the backing of the opposition for the proposal.

On Monday, Norwegian Air said it would cancel 85% of its flights and temporarily lay off 7,300 employees because of the impact from the coronavirus that has strangled demand for air travel. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Victoria Klesty and Edmund Blair)

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