Covid-19 restrictions to be relaxed in Norway as cases fall and one-third fully vaccinated

Norway has announced that the third major phase of its plan to reopen society will take place on Sunday, with citizens allowed to welcome up to 20 people to their homes and hospitality allowed to stay open beyond midnight.

“Norway is on track and we’re ready for step three,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference on Friday, adding that the easing of restrictions would take place on June 20. 

The move will mean that Norwegians can now host as many as 20 guests at their homes and bars and restaurants can remain open beyond midnight. There will also be relaxations on the number of people who can attend sports events and the number of tourists that can enter.

The measures are part of a four-step plan to reduce restrictions introduced earlier this year as Covid-19 infections spiked.Solberg added a word of caution, noting the high level of infection rates elsewhere in the world. “The infection situation is still unpredictable in many parts of the world, and there is uncertainty linked to mutations,” the prime minister stated. 

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The 1,200 infections registered in the past week is the lowest in eight months and is down from a weekly peak of almost 6,600 in mid-March, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) said.

The country of 5.4 million people has made some progress in vaccinating citizens against Covid-19, inoculating around 33% of its adult population with a further 16% having received one shot; slightly higher than the EU’s average, but substantially less than the UK.

To date, Norway has registered nearly 130,000 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. The death toll has been put at 790, making it one of Europe’s least impacted nations.

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