Norway PM warns lockdown relaxation could be reversed

Norway PM warns lockdown relaxation could be reversed
Norway's PM Erna Solberg exhorts the country to keep up its social distancing efforts: Photo: Norway PM's office/Flickr
Norway's prime minister, Erna Solberg, has warned that if Norwegians relax their efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus, the government could be forced to reverse the relaxations of recent weeks.
“If we are careless, it could have serious consequences for others. In the worst case, we will need to tighten the measures again,” she said at her weekly press conference. “This is not the time to relax. We've got to hold on a little longer.”
 
Norway will next week open schools for the first four classes, while hairdressers, beauticians and other one-on-one professions will also open up. 
 
But Solberg said that this week's judgement from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health that the pandemic was under control in the country, and the continuing decline in hospital numbers, did not mean the challenge was over.  
 
“The fact that we have low numbers now does not guarantee that the infection rates will remain low in the future. That's an important message from me. We can't lower our shoulders. We still have to work hard to keep control of the infection.” 
 
 
Norway's health minister later in the press conference announced a relaxation in the strict no-visit policy in place at Norway's elderly care homes. Residents near the end of their lives will now be able to receive visitors.  
 
“There are exceptions to the visitor ban. If you follow the infection control rules,” he said. “Institutions will make arrangements for relatives to visit the elderly if they are critically ill and their lives are coming to an end.” 
 
He said elderly care homes would now be able to set up special visiting rooms where residents could receive short family visits.
 
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Stener Kvinnsland, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Bergen University, explains his role in the commission at the press conference. Photo: Norway PM's office/Flickr
 
Norway's government also announced on Friday that it had appointed Stener Kvinnsland, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Bergen University, to lead a 11-strong expert committee which would examine the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis. 
 
“On March 12, we introduced the most radical measures Norway has taken in peacetime. We took decisions under a great deal of uncertainty. We have to see what worked well, what has not worked, and also what could have been better prepared, Solberg said in a press release. 

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