Here are all the key updates from the Norwegian government’s corona press conference

Bent Høie - Camilla StoltenbergPhoto: Annika Byrde / NTB
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The Norwegian government decided to postpone the planned reliefs in step 4 of the reopening plan until all adults are vaccinated – with two exceptions.

Step 4 of the reopening plan is being delayed but the government is making two exceptions:

* From next Sunday, people with admission to doctoral education at a Norwegian educational institution will have the opportunity to enter the country again, with the same entry requirements as others who enter from third countries.

* In addition, the distance requirement for students is now removed. Thus, they must no longer sit at least one meter apart when the school year begins. 

Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) also commented on the possible date for the introduction of step 4. 

“The most probable time is in about three weeks from today,” he told TV 2.

“The pandemic is not over”

At the press conference, the Minister of Health stated that the infection numbers are rising and that the start of a fourth wave is in motion. It is expected that there will be an increase in infection in connection with the start of school and studies next week.

“In the next three weeks, we must continue to keep the infection down so that the spread of infection does not become too high and the infection tracking too demanding for the municipalities. Even though we have been vaccinated, we must continue to keep our distance from each other in the public space, stay at home when we are ill, test ourselves for symptoms, and keep our hands clean,” Høie said.

He also emphasized that the pandemic is not over yet and that it will not be over when most adult Norwegians have been vaccinated.

“We call the time after the reopening normal everyday life with increased preparedness. Norway is likely to have one of the best vaccine coverages in the world, but in other countries, fewer people have been vaccinated, either because they do not have access to a vaccine or because people do not want to be vaccinated,” Høie said.

“The pandemic is not over yet. Mutations can occur that cause more serious illness,” he warned.

Vaccination of children

He also commented on the good news – Norway is set to receive 1 million extra Moderna vaccine doses from Poland, which will speed up the vaccine program by four weeks.

“Thanks to the extra doses from Poland, the majority of the population will have been offered dose two within four weeks. It is a great advantage in the face of increasing infection,” Høie, who himself received his second vaccine dose in his home municipality on Friday, said.

The fact that the adult population is vaccinated so quickly also means that the government can speed up the assessment of whether to start vaccinating those under 18 years of age.

“The final decision on whether we will vaccinate 16- and 17-year-olds will be accelerated, and we will make a decision this month,” Høie noted.

Postponement of step 4

The implementation of stage 4 of the reopening has been postponed twice, both times due to concerns related to the delta variant.

After step 4, top-level sports will continue as normal, and restrictions on the number of guests in private homes will be removed. 

However, the recommendation to hold public events outdoors will remain in place.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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