Norway to postpone lifting Covid-19 measures amid threat of Delta variant, premier announces

Norway to postpone lifting Covid-19 measures amid threat of Delta variant, premier announces

The scheduled easing of Norway’s Covid-19 restrictions will now be delayed until at least the end of the month, due to the threat of the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus, Prime Minister Erna Solberg has said.

The fourth and final set of measures that could have been lifted on Monday included the limiting of alcohol sales in bars and restaurants to table-service only, and a maximum group size of 20 people in the home.

But Solberg said on Monday that the health curbs would remain and the government would review lifting them in late July or early August.

“There is a risk that the Delta variant will cause a fourth wave of infection in the unvaccinated part of the population, among those who have only received one dose or are in vulnerable groups,” she told a press conference.

Despite the delay to Norway’s route out of lockdown, Solberg did announce the slight easing of some restrictions from midnight on Thursday.

These include dropping the social-distancing requirement for vaccinated people and increasing the number of spectators at seated outdoor events from 5,000 to 7,000, providing they can prove their vaccination and infection status.

Almost 37% of Norway’s adult population is fully inoculated, while more than 65% have received a single Covid vaccine dose, according to the latest data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI).

The government has said it also plans to open vaccinations up to people aged 16 and above, pending a review by the FHI, which will look at the possible side effects of vaccinating older teens. That review is expected in September, Minister of Health Bent Hoie said.

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