The time of intrusive national anti-coronavirus measures is over. Instead, the infection will be controlled locally.
However, the one-meter-distance rule still applies.
For several months, the entire population of Norway has been asked to fight the virus and respect strict measures – even in places where there has been almost no infection.
Now, each municipality will take on the virus separately.
Following the handling of several local outbreaks this summer and autumn, the health authorities are increasingly confident that they will be able to end local infections with targeted measures.
“Now, I am convinced that we can handle opening up a little more, and we’re doing it gradually. It was important for us that we saw that we could handle local outbreaks,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) told news bureau NTB.
On Wednesday, she announced that the government is easing the national anti-corona measures, after a period of significant uncertainty and increasing infection in some parts of the country.
“It has been demanding in some places… We have seen that it has been demanding to build capacity quickly enough. It has been demanding to trace infections,” Solberg noted, adding that the systems are now in place.
“I think it will go well in the future as well,” she said.
Among the measures that are being eased is the national measure that limits the working hours of bars to midnight.
Furthermore, a cautious reopening of grassroots sports will begin. There will be some exceptions in the regulations when it comes to the one-meter-distance requirements in some events.
The government will also allow up to 600 people to be present at the same time at outdoor events, divided into groups of up to 200 people. Furthermore, one empty seat between people will be sufficient at events with fixed seats.
However, some national rules stay in force until Norway gets rid of the virus.
“People in places with little infection can relax a little, but they must still keep one meter of distance from others, wash their hands, and stay at home if they are ill. There are no exceptions to those rules,” Solberg clearly emphasized.
She hopes that the new strategy can motivate low-infection municipalities.
“The municipalities that have high infection rates cannot start to reopen in the same way. They have to wait until they reach an acceptable infection level,” health director Bjørn Guldvog pointed out.
In Oslo, for example, a decree on mandatory local face mask use on public transport is in force, and there’s a ban on gatherings of more than ten people in private homes.
On the other hand, Bergen, which has been through a severe corona outbreak, was able to remove local measures this week after some success in fighting the virus.
A different country
Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) pointed out that Norway is, in many ways, a different country in Europe – in a positive sense.
In several places in Europe, the infection is increasing dramatically.
“We have no guarantee that this will continue to work. But we now know that it can work. If we see tendencies that point to a loss of control, we have the option of tightening measures nationally,” he said.
Furthermore, some national measures will probably remain in force for a long time.
“It’s probably the case that we need to have some national limits at events when it comes to how many people can meet,” he concluded.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today