Norway on track for gradual reopening

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State health officials had some good news Monday: New registered cases of the Corona virus fell 11 percent last week and everyone fully vaccinated will now be exempted from quarantine rules within Norway. Norway’s third wave of infection is ebbing out and more national restrictions may ease.

It’s still pretty quiet at Aker Brygge in Oslo, especially on a rainy day. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

“It looks like we’re nearing the levels that can make it possible to follow the reopening plan that’s been laid,” Dr Espen Nakstad of the state health directorate told news bureau NTB. “That’s very positive.”

The government has already stated that it hoped the second step of its reopening plan could take effect during the first week of May. Now that seems more likely later this month, but it would include reopening of most all educational institutions, allow restaurants to serve alcohol until midnight and even ease some travel restrictions.

Fully vaccinated Norwegians remain subject to quarantine upon arrival from any travel abroad, however. No changes were made to what’s called innreisekarantene rules, but they are under evaluation. Vaccinated Norwegians will be exempted from domestic quarantine rules if they’ve been in contact with an infected person, though.

Nakstad cautioned that the infection situation can suddenly change at any time, and concerns were raised from north to south on Monday after lots of partying during the weekend. That forced hundreds of people into quarantine in the southern towns of Mandal and Lindesnes.

“We’re still steadily seeing examples of local outbreaks that pull the numbers up,” Nakstad told NTB, “but because so many regions are reporting declines, it’s declining nationally.” Local regulations will continue to take precedence over national guidelines.

Oslo has remained mostly closed, for example, even as stores and restaurants began opening in neighbouring municipalities last week. City goverment leader Raymond Johansen admitted to newspaper VG on Monday that he’s under “enormous pressure” to allow stores and restaurants to reopen. A decision is expected later this week.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund