‘The time has come to return to normal life’: Norway lifts restrictions after 561 days

‘The time has come to return to normal life’: Norway lifts restrictions after 561 days
Credit: Steven Lasry Unsplash

Almost all restrictions imposed by the Norwegian Government since March 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus were due to be lifted on Saturday, following progress on the vaccination front, according to the country’s government.

“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,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at a press conference on Friday.

“The time has come to return to normal life,” she added. “The time has come to relive, so to speak, as we did before the pandemic hit us.”

The Scandinavian country had gradually begun lifting the health measures before Summer, as the infection rate went down and vaccinations increased, but postponed a full return to normal on a number of occasions.

However, by Friday, 90.6% of the adult population had received at least a first dose of a vaccine, prompting the Government to announce an end to limits on the number of people allowed to take part in public or private events, the scrapping of compulsory social distancing and the lifting of remaining restrictions in bars and restaurants, with effect from 14:00 GMT on Saturday.

Restrictions have also been lifted on the entry into Norway of residents of the European Economic Area, Schengen Area, United Kingdom and Switzerland.

The official advisory against travelling to various countries will be lifted on the 1st of October.

One of the few remaining measures is that persons who test positive for the novel Coronavirus are required to self-isolate or risk a fine. Local authorities are also allowed to recommend the wearing of facemasks in public transport or to make it compulsory “if needed.”

Noting that the Coronavirus will still be around for years, Mrs. Solberg did not rule out a reintroduction of the health measures in the event of a spike in infections due to a new, highly contagious variant.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, ECDC, the incidence of the virus in Norway has been 355.84 new cases for every 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks.

Since the start of the pandemic, the country has registered only 850 deaths for a population of just over 5 million.

The Brussels Times

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