Norway will lift almost all the restrictions put in place in March 2020 to fight the Covid-19 epidemic on Saturday, the government announced on Friday in favor of the advance in vaccination.
"It has been 561 days since we introduced the most severe measures ever adopted in peacetime, 561 days which have constrained our lives as, I believe, no one could have imagined before," said Prime Minister Erna Solberg at a press conference.
“The time has come to return to normal life (…) The time has come to relive, so to speak, as we did before the pandemic hit us,” she said.
The Scandinavian country began the gradual lifting of its health measures before the summer as the health situation improved, but has repeatedly postponed full normalization.
From 4 p.m. Saturday, the number of people participating in public and private events will no longer be capped, the distance meter rule will be lifted, as will the few restrictions still in place in bars and restaurants.
Handshakes will now also be possible.
Travel authorized again
There are also no more restrictions on entry into Norwegian territory for residents of the European Economic Area (EEA), the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The official recommendation to avoid travel abroad that applies to many countries will disappear on October 1. Among the very rare restrictions that will remain the obligation to be in isolation in the event of a positive coronavirus test, under penalty of a fine. Wearing a mask in public transport may be recommended or compulsory locally “if necessary”.
These new announcements are made possible by progress in vaccination, the government said: Friday, 90.6% of the Norwegian adult population had received at least one dose of the anti-Covid vaccine.
The coronavirus will remain "among us for years," however warned Erna Solberg, who did not rule out a reintroduction of health measures in the event of the explosive spread of a new variant.
Change in power
Erna Solberg and her right-wing government must cede power in the weeks to come after losing the legislative elections on September 13 to the left-wing opposition.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Norway has an incidence rate of the virus of 355.84 new cases per 100,000 population in the past two weeks, with very low mortality.
Since the start of the pandemic, it has only recorded 850 deaths, for a population of just over 5 million inhabitants.
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